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Indiana taking closer look at loosening pot laws

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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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  • About time!
    I've often thought the harsh prosecution of pot is ridiculous. Scientific studies have shown again and again that pot is less harmful to one's self, law enforcement, and society at large than alcohol (cited in such publications as The Economist), yet alcohol is perfectly legal. Couldn't the tens of thousands of dollars it costs to incarcerate someone for possession be better spent on education, infrastructure, etc? Plus, then they can be productive members of society and contribute taxes. Plus, the whole war on drugs could be reduced or aimed at more offensive drugs like meth, heroin, cocaine, etc.
  • why?
    How could they sue? When they did whatever they did with pot, and keep in mind they are not talking making pot legal at all they are only making the penalty for having it less, it was illegal. Changing a law, or the way it is enforced, is not going back to say "well what you did was ok". It is saying from here forward it is.
  • Don't belive the hype. Learn about it.
    It's always worthwhile learning about One report I've used as a basis of fact is put out by the global commission on drugs. The commissioners include former Secretary of State of the US, George Schultz; Kofi Annan, forer Secretary General of the United Nations, a former President of Mexico, a former President of Switzerland, and other well known and experienced people with the world wide drug situation. Just searcho n 'Report of the global comission on drug policy' to see what they think. Personally, here's what I think ... There's been propaganda put out for years. About a 'war', which is just one more war in a long line of them whether on drugs or against other countries, it's still war like they say. People are dying ... needlessly. Let's stop the fighting. Against our own and against the rest of the world. Let's seek peace and understanding. Norml.org is a proponent but also a good source of information. They try to focus on fact. After doing some of my own research I found a interesting points of reference. For instance, a research study funded by the US Dept of Transportation found that drivers under the influence of marijuana were less likely to have an accident than those not under the influence of anything. The surprising outcome is because when under the influence of marijuana, the user is absolutely aware of this and becomes more careful, becomes inhibited. Compare that to alcohol intoxication where users often behave dangerously due to throwing away their inhibitions altogether. Another surprising outcome is that marijuana appears to be a cancer inhibitor and may exhibit curative effects. There are actually numerous studies that show this and a fairly well known figure has emerged in Canada who extracts the plants oils (cannabinoids) for use to cure cancer. Not just treat, but to cure. Like anything, a person should do their own research and make their own conclusions. Though why should we prosecute millions of users of marijuana and spend tens of thousands in tax dollars per prosecution? What an incredible waste of tax money. Plus consider the income that person no longer generates. The last thing here is the enormously negative effects worldwide of this war against marijuana. Incredible waste and we're doing it for one purpose ... to bolster the military industrial complex ... to feed in an endless stream of tax dollars to fund their toys.
  • Too expensive?
    So the cost of holding individuals accountable for violating the law is too expensive? Oh, wait money is more important than safety. Legislators be warned pot heads won't sponsor your re-election. Here let me make it clear. The responsible citizens of Indiana that GIVE you $$ will stop. So lets see what is more important. You keeping your job representing those that elected you or getting voted out of your elected position.
  • familys
    i have a son and daughter-in-law on pot,all they do is cause trouble when high.ive seen familys that buy pot instead of taking care there kids.i know familys that use food stamps to buy pot.so tell me we need tomake it legal
  • stupid if they do.
    If they legalize it then they had better prepare to let every Tom, Dick ,and Harry out of jail, and they had also better be prepared to start redoing all the paper work on the people that have records because if they don't then there will be a hell of a lot of law suits coming against the police , the courts, and the state of Indiana,
    • Legalize it
      Legalizing and regulating it would raise funds for the state. Similarly to how excise taxes on cigarettes and liquor raise funds, marijuana sales would also. To all against it, unlike alcohol or tobacco, how many marijuana related deaths have you heard of? Just saying
    • You can buy beer on Sunday
      You can buy beer on Sunday at any Brewery in Indiana that is open on Sunday. There are lots of them and they are good!
    • Beer on Sunday first?
      How about letting me buy a beer on Sunday before we legalize marijuana? Just a thought.
      • Legalization, Realization
        I have said for many years the way to make Marijuana legal and to give the Gov't a measure of control is to give the "big tobacco companies" the means to process and package it just like cigarettes, but sell it in liquor stores, and, then you will have to be over 21 to buy it, that way the Gov't can tax it and make their money, and that way everybody is happy, well almost, the big drug cartels might not like it @ all, I wonder if they don't really want it to be legalized here, if so, they can keep the money lining their pockets instead of the American Gov't, just how much violence and bloodshed are they (the cartels) willing to put forth to keep it Illegal here in the US, @ times it seems like a whole lot, and, you see with that it just gives the American Gov't an excuse to say that it is a "dangerous drug" and therefore it shouldn't be legalized for use in any form medical or recreational, but if you take away the illegality of marijuana here in America then the drug cartels will lose their stranglehold...............
      • Indiana thinks of coming into the 21st century!!
        Now, if they could think about it on so many other issues.

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      1. I am not by any means judging whether this is a good or bad project. It's pretty simple, the developers are not showing a hardship or need for this economic incentive. It is a vacant field, the easiest for development, and the developer already has the money to invest $26 million for construction. If they can afford that, they can afford to pay property taxes just like the rest of the residents do. As well, an average of $15/hour is an absolute joke in terms of economic development. Get in high paying jobs and maybe there's a different story. But that's the problem with this ask, it is speculative and users are just not known.

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