Indiana’s homegrown chapter of NORML held a town hall event earlier this week, where longtime advocates and activists were joined by a pair of new allies, a pair of bipartisan state legislators finally ready to bring medical pot to the Hoosier State.
"It’s not a Republican or Democrat thing. Liberal or conservative. This is a human rights issue," Republican Indiana Representative Jim Lucas told the gathered crowd. “We’ve seen the proof that it works. We heard personal testimony from people who have personally benefited from this product and I’m for it 100 percent.”
In the republican-lead Midwest state, medical marijuana has for years been a taboo issue, but with an incredibly specific CBD-for-seizures law signed by Governor Eric Holcomb earlier this year, the door is cracked open for expansion, as long as Lucas and his like-minded peers can convince Indiana’s conservative legislators to change their tune. According to Indiana's Fox59 local, that sentiment was reiterated by Democratic Representative and medical marijuana supporter Sue Errington, who also spoke at this week’s NORML meeting.
“Up to now it’s mostly been Democratic voices and we’re a minority in the Indiana Statehouse so to have someone come out as strongly as Representative Lucas has, it’s really great to have a partner to who wants to work with those of us who have been in the trenches," Rep. Errington said.
Outside of Rep. Lucas, Indiana’s Republican legislators have been less than friendly to the prospect of medical dispensaries and significant access to the natural plant. But with the opioid crisis causing local overdoses daily, Lucas is confident that the time has come to start pushing back against his party.
“If ever there was a time, now is it. The planets are aligned. When you look there are 30 some other states that have this. The opioid issue has been declared an epidemic. We are handing out needles to try and stem it. Like I said earlier. People are dying. Families are being torn apart by it and those are prescription drugs," Lucas said. "We have to quit listening to the fear mongering, the ignorance, the people who just don’t know, but for whatever reason they have been scared of this issue for a long, long time. They are afraid to move forward. I’m hoping to help break that bubble and if it takes a conservative Republican to make that happen, I’m happy to be the one."
Both Lucas and Errington said that they are currently working on more expansive medical marijuana legislation and an education campaign to try and knock the reefer madness mindset out of their lawmaking peers.
"I think things are moving in the right direction hopefully fast enough we can have something passed next session," Rep. Errington said.