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PENDLETON, Ind. — The town of Pendleton is looking to preemptively ban marijuana within town limits as town leaders expect recreational pot to be legal in Indiana in the near future.

An ordinance being pushed by Pendleton town judge George Gasparovic, who moonlights as a leader of the Drug-Free South Madison County Coalition, would ban the use, manufacturing, and even lab testings of marijuana within the town’s limits.

The ordinance did not receive any opposition from any of the four Pendleton Town Council members or from anyone else from the public who attended last night’s meeting. Gasparovic is convinced that marijuana is a gateway drug and needs to be banned in Pendleton in the event state lawmakers legalize it statewide.

“My concern is that there are going to be a lot of lives lost that could have been saved [if recreational marijuana is legalized in Indiana&#93,” he told WISH-TV.

“Many people say this is a tremendous gateway drug and, automatically, you’re going to move to hard drugs. That hasn’t been the case so far. But the research I’ve studied shows 6 to 10 percent of people who do start [using marijuana&#93 don’t stop and they move on to other drugs.”

Supporters of Pendleton’s proposed anti-marijuana ordinance also cited a desire to “opt-out” of potential changes in state law spurred on by “pressure from tobacco companies,” according to Gasparovic.

Robert Jones, vice president of the Pendleton Town Council, said the ordinance could pave the way for state lawmakers to pass similar legislation like in Colorado should they vote to legalize pot.

Colorado state law has legalized recreational marijuana but also allows cities and towns to pass their own restrictions on the drug.

Last night the Pendleton town council voted to bring the ordinance back for a second and final reading.


(PHOTO: Simona Granati – Corbis/Getty Images)