Indiana governor remains against legalizing marijuana

Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb remains opposed to efforts by state lawmakers to allow medical or recreational marijuana in the state, even such uses are becoming legal in a growing number of other states.

Posted: Dec 31, 2018 10:10 AM

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb remains opposed to efforts by state lawmakers to allow medical or recreational marijuana in the state, even such uses are becoming legal in a growing number of other states.

The Republican governor says he hasn't changed his mind even after voters in neighboring Michigan approved a November ballot initiative legalizing the drug's recreational use. Medical marijuana use is allowed in Michigan and Illinois and has been approved in Ohio.

"I'm just not willing to look at that, especially since it is illegal right now according to the federal government," Holcomb told reporters recently.

Several Indiana legislators support marijuana legalization bills that could be considered during the upcoming General Assembly session that starts in early January.

Marijuana is classified by the federal government as a Schedule 1 controlled substance, which means it's not accepted for medical use and has a high potential for abuse.

"Right now, it's a crime," Holcomb said. "I'm just simply not willing to look the other way."

However, Holcomb in March said a bill that legalized the sale, possession and use of cannabidiol. CBD oil is derived from marijuana but has a low level of THC, the compound that causes a high.

Holcomb said marijuana, unlike CBD, is considered a gateway drug that could lead casual users to more dangerous narcotics.

While Holcomb said there could be potential medicinal benefits to marijuana, he believes the federal government needs to do more to study the drug.

"I am encouraged that the surgeon general is on record ... saying that some research needs to go into this," Holcomb said. "But it's got to be done in the right way. It's got to be done legally."

Democratic Sen. Karen Tallian of Ogden Dunes is one of the lawmakers seeking to legalize medicinal or recreational marijuana. She said support for such legislation "is at an all-time high" in the state and the Legislature should "follow the will of the people."

The Indiana Chamber of Commerce is among the groups against any legalization, arguing that even allowing medical marijuana use leads to decreased worker productivity and safety concerns.

Republican Rep. Jim Lucas of Seymour said he and other supporters of marijuana legalization face fighting the "stigma and fear-mongering" of on the issue.

"We're perfectly OK with somebody getting off of work and running by the liquor store and picking up a case of beer or a bottle of whiskey or something and doing that responsibly on their time," Lucas said.

Holcomb said he's also not concerned with legalizing marijuana so the state can collect revenue off the sales.

"Fortunately, we're in a state that's in a strong position, fiscally speaking, so we're not maybe looking to every potential source without addressing all the adverse effects that come with it," he said.

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Indiana Coronavirus Cases

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Cases: 727764

Reported Deaths: 13397
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion995211738
Lake53461965
Allen40457675
St. Joseph35506550
Hamilton35489408
Elkhart28433441
Tippecanoe22359218
Vanderburgh22284396
Porter18668307
Johnson17905377
Hendricks17180315
Clark12930191
Madison12592339
Vigo12431246
Monroe11858170
LaPorte11821210
Delaware10648185
Howard9865216
Kosciusko9378117
Hancock8251140
Bartholomew8052155
Warrick7771155
Floyd7649177
Grant7027174
Wayne7026199
Boone6679101
Morgan6555139
Dubois6150117
Marshall6005111
Dearborn579277
Cass5788105
Henry5688103
Noble558883
Jackson500872
Shelby490296
Lawrence4505120
Harrison434772
Gibson434692
Clinton427053
DeKalb426484
Montgomery423588
Whitley394739
Huntington389080
Steuben383857
Miami380666
Knox371890
Jasper363847
Putnam358860
Wabash353379
Adams340654
Ripley339170
Jefferson328881
White313254
Daviess295899
Wells291081
Decatur284292
Fayette279262
Greene277385
Posey271033
Scott265453
LaGrange265370
Clay259146
Washington240032
Randolph239781
Spencer232031
Jennings229549
Starke215453
Fountain212046
Sullivan211142
Owen198156
Fulton194740
Jay192530
Carroll188320
Orange182654
Perry182637
Rush172925
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Franklin167735
Tipton162445
Parke145916
Blackford134632
Pike133234
Pulaski116445
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