INDIANAPOLIS — A legislative committee is in gridlock over how Indiana should regulate marijuana.
After nearly seven hours of testimony and debate, the committee couldn’t agree on any recommendations for the General Assembly.
”We just couldn’t gain consensus on this, so there are no current recommendations on the table,” said State Sen. Scott Baldwin, who serves as the chairman of the Commerce and Economic Development Interim Study Committee.
Although lawmakers on both sides of the aisle said they anticipate there will be legislation on the table next session to legalize/decriminalize marijuana, whether or not that legislation will even get a vote is still in question.
Republicans said they’re concerned more research needs to be done on how marijuana use impairs young people, drivers, and the workforce.
”I think there’s many precautions and many things that we do before we legalize it,” State Rep. Bob Morris said.
”We don’t really have enough information yet to understand, because the testing is still not quite there in terms of how impaired someone is in the workplace,” State Sen. Liz Brown said.
According to a 2022 Ball State University survey of 600 Hoosier adults, 85 percent said marijuana should be legal in some form or another (29 percent said they were for medical marijuana only, while 56 percent said they were for marijuana for personal use).
”The public is way ahead of the General Assembly on this issue,” State Rep. Matt Pierce said.
According to Pierce, more bills surrounding marijuana will continue to be filed, but he said he questions if they’ll even make it out of committee.
”We’ve not even been allowed to have an up or down vote on these issues; the bills have all been basically buried in committee, and you know, amendment efforts have been blocked,” Pierce said.
State Sen. Rodney Pol said if marijuana is legalized in Indiana, that could bring in $200 million each year in tax revenue.
”I have to keep hope that we’re going to move something,” Pol said. ”That’s kinda the beauty of where we are: we have 39 other states that we can look to for what has worked, what hasn’t worked.”
This comes as Ohio voters will decide next Tuesday whether or not to make recreational marijuana use for adults legal. If that happens, every state surrounding Indiana will have legalized marijuana in one form or another.