Indiana Activists Push for Cannabis Legalization

Legalization advocates rallied at the Indiana State House this week, demanding cannabis reform in the Midwest state.

A group of cannabis legalization activists and state legislators gathered at the Indiana capitol building in Indianapolis early this week to rally for marijuana law reform and demand and end to local pot prohibition.

According to the Chicago Tribune, several groups lead by Indiana’s local NORML chapter gathered outside the state legislature ahead of 2020’s first session with signs, chants, and speeches meant to draw attention to the state’s slow response to America’s legalization movement.

“[Cannabis prohibition] was a way to attack certain groups of individuals,” William Henry, chairman of Indiana NORML, said. “Culturally we were harassing and attacking people in our communities because of their use of cannabis over this whole period of prohibition.”

Activists outside of the State House pointed to Michigan and Illinois, a pair of neighboring Midwest states that enacted their own full-scale legalization programs in the last month. In Indiana, total prohibition has affected both recreational and medicinal users, with no way to legally access marijuana without crossing state borders.

“It’s the second most arrested crime in the State of Indiana, and it needs to stop,” Indiana Senator Karen Tallian told rally-goers. “There’s no reason on God’s earth that why we should still be arresting people for possession of marijuana. We are now well behind the times in the State of Indiana.”

But while states like New Jersey and South Dakota have already secured cannabis legalization measures on 2020’s November ballot, Sen. Tallian was more pessimistic about her anti-cannabis colleagues in the Indiana legislature.

“I’m going to be very honest with you, we’re not going to get marijuana legalized in this state house this year. It’s not going to happen. But, we’re pushing,” Tallian said. “You have to keep doing things one step at a time.”

But with growing support among residents, Indiana cannabis advocates are confident that coming years will bring significant change to state marijuana law – and the legislators who are tasked with deciding.

“The ballot box is going to be where a lot of decisions are made in 2020 in the State of Indiana,” Henry told the Tribune. “If nothing does get done here at the Statehouse for cannabis reform, you’re going to see a change … in these offices with new people standing up for the right thing and doing the right thing for their constituents.”

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