TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTWO/WAWV) — Indiana State Senator Jon Ford (R) recently signed on to support two bills this legislative session related to cannabis and its possible future use in the state.

Sen. Ford said part of the reason he wants to begin to have these discussions is due to the area he represents being on the border with Illinois, where recreational marijuana is legal. According to Ford, members of law enforcement have reached out to him explaining the difference in laws causes confusion.

“It’s hard for law enforcement to understand where we are on the issue, so I really wanted to support the bill so we can have that discussion,” Ford said.

Vigo County Sheriff John Plasse said his department is in the business of enforcing laws and in the state of Indiana, possessing marijuana is illegal.

“Being close to Illinois, you know five miles to the west of us, people can go over there legally and buy it. But when you have it here… it’s illegal. Number one, if you’re using it, you shouldn’t be driving,” Plasse said.

Senate Bill 336, authored by both Sen. Ford and Sen. David Niezgodski (D), “establishes a procedure for the lawful production and sale of cannabis in Indiana. Makes conforming amendments. Makes an appropriation.” 

While Senate Bill 377, authored by Sen. Rodney Pol (D) and Sen. Ford, “is said to “permits the use of cannabis by: (1) a person at least 21 years of age; and (2) a person with a serious medical condition as determined by the person’s physician. Establishes the adult-use cannabis excise tax, and requires a retailer to transfer the tax to the department of state revenue for deposit in the state general fund. Exempts veterans from payment of the sales tax on medical or adult-use cannabis. Establishes a cannabis program to permit the cultivation, processing, testing, transportation, and sale of cannabis by holders of a valid permit. Establishes the Indiana cannabis commission (ICC) as a state agency to oversee, implement, and enforce the program, and establishes the ICC advisory committee to review the effectiveness of the program. Requires that permit holders take steps to prevent diversion of cannabis to unauthorized persons. Requires that cannabis and cannabis products be properly labeled, placed in child-resistant packaging, and tested by an independent testing laboratory before being made available for purchase. Prohibits packaging cannabis in a manner that is appealing to children. Authorizes research on cannabis in accordance with rules set forth by the ICC. Establishes a procedure for the expungement of a cannabis-related conviction if the act constituting the conviction becomes legal. Makes conforming amendments.”

Plasse said, he agrees with Ford’s premise of wanting to discuss cannabis use in Indiana. He said as a representative of the people, it’s Senator Ford’s job to take his constituents’ thoughts to the statehouse.

Ford said he hears more support for medical marijuana than recreational marijuana from local leaders and voters.

Plasse said he does not support recreational marijuana use in Indiana.

“I’m not for it, (recreational marijuana use) because states that have legalized marijuana for recreational use have seen an unfortunate increase in vehicle accidents, which ultimately increases injuries and fatalities,” Plasse said.