Indiana lawmakers feel confident that 2017 could be the year that a comprehensive medical marijuana bill finally gets a hearing. The downside, however, is legislative forces may only give consideration to a low-THC program designed to help seriously ill patients.
While it is a long shot that a comprehensive medical marijuana effort will receive the time of day in the current session, the Associated Press reports there has been some action in the Senate with respect to a restrictive CBD-only bill. The proposal (Senate Bill 327), which was recently heard before a Senate committee, would provide non-intoxicating cannabis oil to children suffering from epilepsy.
“Medicinal use of cannabidiol. Defines “cannabidiol”, and provides an affirmative defense to possession of cannabidiol if the person or the person’s child has been diagnosed with certain medical conditions, the cannabidiol contains no THC, and other specified conditions are met,” the bill reads, according to Marijuana.com.
Essentially, the bill would create a system where cannabis containing no more that 0.3 percent THC would be manufactured and distributed to a very limited number of patients throughout the state. These types of programs became the trend back in 2014.
Still, lawmakers feel hopeful that the Senate’s willingness to hear the CBD bill may translate to progress when it comes time to get down and dirty on a more comprehensive effort. As it stands, there are 10 pieces of medical marijuana legislation lingering in the halls of the State Legislature. But so far, there has not been a great deal of promise that any of these reforms will make it out alive.
“It’s not a secret that more conservative states are a little more reluctant to go down this path than left-leaning, bluer states,” Maggie Ellinger-Locke with the Marijuana Policy Project told the AP. “It’s not an uncommon situation.”
But pressure is starting to mount with respect to the medical marijuana issue. Most recently, the Indiana American Legion, which is the largest veterans group in the state, passed a resolution calling for the General Assembly to get serious about passing a medicinal cannabis program.
“Legislators listen to veterans,” said Jeff Staker, the Marine responsible for introducing the resolution. “We’ve got to get their attention, and who better to do that than veterans?”
Some of the latest polls show that 73 percent of the population believes medical marijuana should be legal in the Hoosier State.
But Governor Eric Holcomb is not exactly a fan. Last year, he said, “Expanding or legalizing drugs of this nature isn’t on my list.”
However, Senator Karen Tallian, who has been pushing comprehensive medical marijuana reform for the past seven years, recently said the “floodgates have finally broken.”