In a combative move aimed at dragging Indiana out of the dark ages with respect to the marijuana legalization debate, one Republican lawmaker plans to introduce legislation in the coming months designed to legalize the leaf for medicinal purposes.
State Representative Jim Lucas, a politician who caught some heat recently over his derogatory comments about women “leaning how not to be” rape victims, recently told ABC 6 The Indy Channel that he will push to legalize a medical marijuana program in the next session. The bill, which is currently being drafted, is intended to give patients more treatment options than dangerous prescription drugs.
Representative Lucas, who is also a strong supporter of the Second Amendment, told the news source that he has been talking to people all over his District and the consensus is that Hoosiers are more than ready for cannabis medicine. He says a number of people have shared their success stories with him about using the herb to treat various conditions, which has led him to believe that the state government should further explore the issue to see if there is a legitimate basis for changing the law.
"We have a responsibility to at least investigate it and determine the facts, and if there is something positive out there, we have to pursue that,” Lucas said.
Earlier this year, Indiana passed a restrictive CBD-only law that will eventually allow some epilepsy patients to gain access to a non-intoxicating form of marijuana through their local pharmacy. The program, however, is far from the comprehensive move that is needed to ensure thousands of Indiana patients have access to the types of strains that are needed to treat conditions ranging from cancer, and chronic pain to post traumatic stress disorder.
Despite the recent shift in the law, Indiana law enforcement have been hard at work for the past couple of months shaking down retail grocery stores in the Indianapolis area that are selling CBD dietary supplements. These supplements, while touted as having therapeutic benefits in the way of easing chronic pain, in no way contain the same concentration of CBD as the cannabis oil commonly associated with taming the symptoms of epilepsy.
Nevertheless, these busts are still happening – a situation that Lucas feels makes it absolutely crucial for the state legislature to take the marijuana debate seriously in the next session.
"It's woke people up that we have to do something. It's forcing us to consider things that might have been taboo or off-limits just a few months or even a year ago,” he said.
Over the summer, Indiana Attorney General Curtis Hill published an op-ed in the Indianapolis Star, urging state lawmakers to shy away from the concept of legal marijuana. In the piece, Curtis, a longtime drug reform opponent, called medical marijuana “a timid way of tiptoeing into waters that conscientious lawmakers know in their hearts should be avoided.”
When asked whether his colleagues in the Republican Party would support medical marijuana legislation, Lucas admits that remains to be seen.
But even if the bill is met with majority support, it is going to take something big to convince Governor Eric Holcomb to get onboard. Although the governor did, in fact, sign the state’s CBD bill into law earlier this year, he has given every indication that he is not at all interested in legalizing on a larger scale.