INDIANAPOLIS– Indiana lawmakers are weighing the pros and cons of legalizing cannabis after a bill to decriminalize the Schedule I substance died last session.
Indiana is one of 12 states where both medical and recreational marijuana use are illegal. Wednesday, the Commerce and Economic Development Committee heard hours of testimony from law enforcement, researchers, even religious leaders about the potential ramifications of legalizing cannabis.
“I think we owe it to the taxpayers to be very thoughtful about how or if we continue down the path towards potential legalization in some form or not,” State Sen. Scott Baldwin (who chairs the committee) said.
State Rep. Bob Morris says a bill to legalize marijuana will be introduced next session, but that much more consideration into the potential ramifications must be done first.
“How it affects Indiana workers and their output and their productivity—there are some very alarming concerns,” Rep. Morris said.
According to Cannabis Public Policy Consulting, marijuana use does not cause certain mental illnesses such as depression and anxiety, but can exacerbate symptoms of those illnesses.
“I don’t think we want more people to have substance abuse, I think we need to make sure we help the people we have now who are going to try to use these illegal substances to self-medicate, that’s my concern,” State Sen. Liz Brown said.
This comes as the Biden administration is pushing the DEA to reclassify cannabis from a Schedule I to a Schedule III substance. Policy experts say even if that happens, that approval process could take between 6-12 months.