INDIANAPOLIS, Ind (Jan.13, 2021) –  A bill filed in the Indiana House would legalize medical marijuana in the state despite federal prohibition.

Rep. Jim Lucas (R) introduced House Bill 1026 (HB1026), which would legalize the use of medicinal marijuana for those with serious medical conditions – subject to the determination of their physician. The bill would establish a medical marijuana program, which would also allow for the cultivation, testing, processing, transport, and dispensing of marijuana for those who have a valid permit. Further, it would authorize research that could potentially hold great benefits. This would be implemented and enforced by the State Department of Health.

The proposed law also includes a requirement for safe, childproof, and clearly marked packaging of medical marijuana, and that it not be presented in a way that would be appealing to minors.

EFFECT ON FEDERAL PROHIBITION

Under the federal Controlled Substances Act (CSA) passed in 1970, the federal government maintains complete prohibition of marijuana. Of course, the federal government lacks any constitutional authority to ban or regulate cannabis within the borders of a state, despite the opinion of the politically connected lawyers on the Supreme Court. If you doubt this, ask yourself why it took a constitutional amendment to institute federal alcohol prohibition.

The legalization of medical marijuana in Indiana would remove a layer of laws prohibiting the possession and use of marijuana in the state even though federal prohibition would remain in effect. This is significant because FBI statistics show that law enforcement makes approximately 99 of 100 marijuana arrests under state, not federal law. When states stop enforcing marijuana laws, they sweep away most of the basis for 99 percent of marijuana arrests.

Furthermore, figures indicate it would take 40 percent of the DEA’s yearly-budget just to investigate and raid all of the dispensaries in Los Angeles – a single city in a single state. That doesn’t include the cost of prosecution. The lesson? The feds lack the resources to enforce marijuana prohibition without state assistance.

A GROWING MOVEMENT

Indiana could join a growing number of states simply ignoring federal prohibition and nullifying it in practice.

Colorado, Washington state, Oregon and Alaska were the first states to legalize recreational cannabis, and California, Nevada, Maine and Massachusetts joined them after ballot initiatives in favor of legalization passed in November 2016. Michigan followed suit when voters legalized cannabis for general use in 2018. Vermont became the first state to legalize marijuana through a legislative act in 2018. Illinois followed suit in 2019. South Dakota, New Jersey, Montana and Arizona all legalized recreational marijuana through ballot measures in the 2020 election and Mississippi legalized medicinal cannabis.

With 36 states now allowing cannabis for medical use, and 15 legalizing for recreational adult-use, the feds find themselves in a position where they simply can’t enforce prohibition anymore.

The lesson here is pretty straightforward. When enough people say, ‘No!’ to the federal government, and enough states pass laws backing those people up, there’s not much the feds can do to shove their so-called laws, regulations or mandates down our throats.

WHAT’S NEXT

HB1026 was referred to the House Public Health Committee where it must pass by a majority vote before moving forward in the legislative process.

Amanda Bowers


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