Indiana is on the verge of legalizing an ultra-restrictive medical marijuana program that would give epilepsy patients access to cannabis oil.
The Indiana House recently passed a measure in a unanimous vote of 98-to-0 designed to give epilepsy patients the freedom to purchase a non-intoxicating form of CBD cannabis oil. The measure, which is the first marijuana-related bill to receive any consideration inside the halls of the Republican-dominated Indiana General Assembly, was also given the green light last week by the full Senate.
Although the proposal is not nearly as comprehensive as other medicinal programs launched in more than 20 states and the District of Columbia, it is positive that the legislative brass is finally taking the issue seriously.
Throughout the years, lawmakers have repeatedly dragged similar offerings up the steps of the State Capitol, but the legislative hounds guarding the House and Senate floor have refused to let them pass. But that all changed in 2017, when this CBD bill was given the green light by a Senate committee – pushing it on to the full Senate, where no proposal of its kind had ever gone before.
Some believe this new lease on pot reform is because Indiana lawmakers are under a great deal of pressure to put some sort of medical marijuana law on the books in 2017. Influential groups, such as the Indiana America Legion, have been breathing down their necks over the past several months in hopes of persuading them to get in line with progress.
“Legislators listen to veterans,” said Jeff Staker, a Marine who has been lobbying this year to legalize medical marijuana in Indiana. “We’ve got to get their attention, and who better to do that than veterans?”
Now that the CBD bill has both the support of the House and Senate, the two chambers will now come together on the issue in the coming months to hash out the details. Once terms have been reached, it will be well on its way to the desk of Republican Governor Eric Holcomb for a signature.
But will he sign the bill?
Last year, Governor Holcomb said “expanding or legalizing drugs of this nature isn’t on my list,” but so far he has not said whether he intends to veto the bill.
If all goes according to plan, patients suffering from epilepsy could soon have the ability to purchase cannabis oil (containing no more than 0.3 percent THC) from pharmacies across the state.
A recent poll found that 73 percent of the Hoosier population now believes that medical marijuana should be made legal.