For residents of Indiana, getting the medical marijuana they need might become much harder. The Association of Indiana Prosecuting Attorneys recently wrote a letter to the state’s drug czar, Jim McClelland, questioning the legitimacy of using marijuana for medicinal purposes, and questioning if the the drug is a mere step to more illicit drugs in the future.
The letter in question, written by David N. Powell, the association’s executive secretary, called on Mr. McClelland, asking him to “formally oppose the legalization of marijuana in any form, for any purpose.” Making three main points along the way, they say:
“We strongly believe both medicinal and recreational marijuana legalization are wrong for Indiana,” said the Nov. 3 letter. “We urge you to take a stand against these policies that would cause further harm to communities already suffering from the devastating effects of drug abuse.”
“In our letter, we cited authority and research, not anecdotes,” Powell said. “Everybody has an opinion, but … the point is, ‘show us the research.’”
Powell also raised safety concerns for Indiana, pointing to a statistic from the Colorado Bureau of Investigation showing an increase of 5.5% in statewide crime from 2015 to 2016, alluding to the reason being the statewide legalization that began in 2014.
Former Ohio deputy sheriff, not a speaker for the Law Enforcement Action Partnership, argues that there is a more dangerous drug we need to be concerned about: alcohol. He argued that motorist driving while under the influence of alcohol posed a greater threat to other drivers on the road, and to the law enforcement that pull them over. Stating through personal experience, drunk drivers were frequently belligerent looking to pick fights with offices, while those who were under the influence of marijuana rarely exhibited such behavior.
Though all parties were in agreement that the dangers of alcohol were very real, Powell used the argument to create a possible parallel to legalizing marijuana. “It’s a challenge to keep up with alcohol now,” he said. “So our concern is that once you call (marijuana) ‘medicine’ and permit it, then we need to be prepared for those consequences, and I can tell you, we’re not.”
On the opposite side of the issue are lawmakers like Rep. Jim Lucas (Republican, and Sen. Karen Tallian (Democrat), who are strong advocates and are advocating for their colleagues in the state to support legislation legalizing marijuana for medicinal purposes. They’re fighting alongside organizations like the American Legion, which supports the use of medical marijuana for treatment of PTSD for veterans.
Rep. Lucas has announced plans to author a medical marijuana bill, and points to stories of Indiana residents that have testified to marijuana-related healings as evidence for legalization.
Are you a resident of Indiana that uses medical marijuana? How has medical marijuana helped you in your life and your health?