The legislature’s Criminal Law and Sentencing Policy Study Committee heard testimony Thursday as it began studying whether to legalize marijuana or reduce criminal penalties on small amounts of the drug.
Noah Member of the Marijuana Policy Project says marijuana use is widespread despite its illegality and that laws against possession ruin people’s lives. Daniel Abrahamson of the Drug Policy Alliance says states that have legalized medical marijuana or decriminalized personal use haven’t seen an upswing in drug use.
Member suggests marijuana should be regulated by the state much like alcohol.
Abrahamson estimates Indiana could raise $44 million a year in sales tax alone if it regulated and taxed marijuana.
The push for the hearing comes from State Sen. Karen Tallian, D-Ogden Dunes, who as an attorney was puzzled by the amount of money and time spent the judicial system spends on marijuana related cases.