Legal Issues and State Government and Legislation and Government & Economic Development and Government and Law

Indiana taking closer look at loosening pot laws

November 9, 2012

Indiana isn't talking about legalizing marijuana the way Colorado and Washington voters did this week, but key legislators from both parties are looking at decriminalizing possession of small amounts of the drug.

Supporters say that prosecuting pot users carries too high a cost in state spending and ruined lives, crowding state prisons and damaging young offenders' futures.

Democratic state Sen. Karen Tallian of Portage says decriminalizing pot is long overdue and the idea has strong public support.

State Sen. Brent Steele, a Republican, told IBJ in September that he’ll introduce legislation in the 2013 session that would make possession of 10 grams or less an infraction, rather than a criminal misdemeanor.

But Calvina Fay of the Drug Free America Foundation says pot isn't as safe as supporters claim and that loosening marijuana laws sends a bad message to children.

Both sides say they're waiting to see how the federal government reacts to other states' legalization moves.

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