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STATEWIDE — Prosecutors in Marion County are no longer planning to litigate cases in which people are arrested for less than an ounce of marijuana.

In light of that decision by new acting Marion County prosecutor Ryan Mears, State Sen. Jim Lucas (R-Seymour) and Karen Tallian (D-Portage) both agree that now Indiana has it’s best chance to legalize some sort of marijuana statewide than ever before.

“God bless that man,” Lucas said of Mears to WISH-TV. “I want to buy him a steak dinner. Anything he wants at St. Elmo’s or whatever restaurant in Indianapolis. What he did, he is going to force the conversation at the Statehouse that should’ve been had years ago.”

Lucas has spearheaded the effort to legalize medical cannabis in Indiana for the last few years.

“There are just a whole spectrum of benefits that this brings to people,” the Lucas told WISH-TV Tuesday. “A better quality of life and, not just that, but significantly less side-effects than many of the prescription medications they’re taking now.”

Tallian agrees and believes the rest of Indiana needs to follow Marion County’s lead on this issue.

“Last week, at the Criminal Corrections Committee, the state prosecutors association told us that, last year, there were 22,000 arrests for marijuana possession (of less than an ounce). So, let’s start there, let’s get rid of that,” Tallian said.

She has also been pushing the business side of it for years, saying Indiana’s business friendly climate is ideal for hemp processing companies to set up shop here and create more jobs. But you would need a license to do that and right now Indiana has no governing body to issue said licenses.

Tallian plans to introduce legislation to change that in 2020 when the state legislature convenes in January. Both Lucas and Tallian are hopeful some sort of bill legalizing marijuana in some capacity get some traction this upcoming session.

(Photo: Don MacKinnon/AFP via Getty Images)