The potential legalization of cannabis in Indiana is expected to be a prominent issue in the upcoming legislative session. In previous years, legislators have pointed to the proximity of neighboring states with legalized cannabis as a driving force behind Indiana’s consideration of the matter. The allure of increased tax revenue, witnessed in nearby states such as Michigan and Illinois, serves as a persuasive incentive for lawmakers to contemplate legalization.
Currently, nine measures in both the Indiana senate and house have been proposed, with each incorporating “marijuana” in their titles.
SB 99, sponsored by Senators Rodney Pol and Fady Qaddoura, proposes allowing marijuana use for individuals aged 21 years and older or those with serious medical conditions. Additionally, it introduces an excise tax on cannabis.
SB107, proposed by Senators Qaddoura and David Niezgodski, proposes the establishment of a legal framework for the growth and distribution of marijuana in the state.
SB 126, put forth by Senator Greg Taylor, seeks to create a medical cannabis program, enabling doctors to prescribe the substance for specific medical conditions. The bill also proposes the formation of a regulatory committee and the repeal of certain taxes related to cannabis.
SB 294, authored by Senator Eric Bassler, proposes removing cannabis from Schedule I of the controlled substance list. It suggests permitting medical cannabis use for individuals with serious medical conditions, prescribed by a healthcare professional. Similar to Senate Bill 126, SB 294 proposes the establishment of a state marijuana commission to oversee the program.
HB 1146, introduced by Representative Jim Lucas, aims to establish a program allowing medical cannabis growth, testing, processing and distribution by licensed operators. Additionally, the measure makes it illegal to discriminate against people who use medicinal cannabis and also provides legal assistance to anyone found operating a car while under the influence of cannabis.
Representative Blake Johnson’s HB1282 aims to provide guidelines for Indiana’s legal marijuana cultivation and sales. House Bills 1349 and 1350, both authored by Representatives Heath VanNatter, Steve Bartles and Jake Teshka, propose decriminalizing the possession of up to two ounces of cannabis and lays out guidelines for Indiana’s legal marijuana production and distribution, respectively.
Lastly, House Bill 1410 put forth by Representative Zach Payne, would allow the sale and consumption of marijuana to anyone who is at least 18 years of age. It also requires the state’s health department to set up a system for citizens to receive medical cannabis cards, permitting anyone under the age of 18 to use the drug for medical purposes with a prescription. Furthermore, the measure also suggests exempting medical marijuana from the sales tax.
The debate over cannabis legalization in Indiana is expected to change as these proposals move through the legislative process, influenced by factors including taxation, regulations and public health.
Indiana is one of the remaining states that haven’t legalized cannabis in some form, and the progress of the these bills could attract the interest of several cannabis companies, such as SNDL Inc. (NASDAQ: SNDL), as the spread of the reform movement reaches these holdout states.
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