MEMORANDUM TO CONSTITUENTS ON MARIJUANA LEGISLATION – SB 347
January 23, 2012
As you know, I brought forward the subject of Marijuana policy in Indiana in the 2011 legislative session. This may have been the first time this subject was ever raised in the state legislature. I requested a study of policy to be held during summer study sessions. And, in fact, we did have such a study session, allowing a great number of people to testify. This year, I introduced SB347 that had a number of provisions, including:
- eliminate felony possession of marijuana altogether;
- decriminalize possession of less than 3 ounces, and make it an infraction only;
- make possession of more than 3 ounces no more than a misdemeanor; and
- create an exemption for research institutions.
In addition, I have amendments to propose:
- allow for production of industrial hemp; and
- allow for a “free pass” for anyone who had a physician’s recommendation for medical marijuana use.
On Tuesday, January 24, 2012, this bill will be given a hearing. However I was only able to secure a hearing with the understanding that the bill will not be voted on this year. Keep in mind: this is an election year. Many of the people who would otherwise support this bill are concerned that they will not support it during a year when they are up for re-election and face stiff primary challenges by persons who may not be sympathetic to this issue. I do not want to risk a “no” vote. No vote is better than a recorded vote of “No” for the future viability of a bill.
Many of you may be disappointed. Keep in mind: I live in a world of political reality. I am taking the steps necessary to keep this moving, even if it is by Slow Time.
I will continue to work on this issue. All the polls that we have show a very strong support to change Indiana’s criminal laws on this issue.