A tenacious Indiana lawmaker is making a push once again in the 2017 session to legalize medical marijuana.
Democratic Senator Karen Tallian recently submitted a measure to the Indiana General Assembly, which seeks the creation of a statewide medical marijuana program.
The proposal (Senate Bill 255) would allow patients with a variety of health conditions, including migraines and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), to have access to cannabis as long as they have a recommendation from a licensed physician. It would also give patients suffering from “any persistent or chronic illness or condition” to access the program so long as a doctor believes marijuana could provide some benefit.
The bill calls for the creation of a Department of Marijuana Enforcement (DOME) to oversee the program. This department would also come with an advisory committee that would determine multiple facets of the program, including whether to add more qualified conditions.
This year marks Tallian’s sixth attempt with this type of proposal. So far, the Republican dominated legislature has refused to allow any marijuana-related proposals to so much as receive a hearing.
The lawmaker said last year that she could secure strong support from the Republicans if only the legislative gatekeepers would give her bills an opportunity to be heard.
“We move by inches down there, so I’d take every inch I could get,” Tallian said last year. “I have a lot of votes over there on the Republican side if I could just get a hearing.”
Interestingly, Tallian could receive some influential support this session from the American Legion Department of Indiana. The organization is set to vote next week on a resolution aimed at persuading the State Legislature to finally give medical marijuana some consideration.
“Legislators listen to veterans,” said Jeff Staker, the veteran responsible for introducing the resolution. “We’ve got to get their attention, and who better to do that than veterans?”
A recent WTHR Howey Politics Indiana Poll shows 73 percent of Indiana residents believe marijuana should be legalized throughout the state for medicinal purposes. Only 25 percent said they opposed, while 2 percent were left undecided.
But even if Tallian’s bill were blessed with a miracle in the coming months, allowing it to move swiftly through the State Legislature without incident, Republican Governor Eric Holcomb would probably not support the proposal in ink.
Last year, during a gubernatorial debate in Evansville, Holcomb said, “expanding or legalizing drugs of this nature isn’t on my list.”