INDIANAPOLIS – The Indiana Democratic Party, the organization that advocates for the future of Indiana and its families, today announced its full support for the effort to legalize recreational cannabis across the state. Indiana Democrats call on the Indiana General Assembly to deliver this opportunity for the Hoosier State. Legalizing marijuana in some form is supported by about 80-percent of Hoosiers and would provide the opportunity to create an additional revenue stream for the state, create good-paying jobs, develop a long-term cash crop for Indiana’s ag and business communities, provide medicinal opportunities for people like the state’s veterans and seniors, and could start the process of expunging records for simple possession across the state. More than 78-percent of Hoosiers agree simple possession of cannabis should not be an arrestable offense.
Legalizing marijuana is a win-win for Indiana, and it should get done this legislative session. If the Republicans fail to join Democrats in this effort, it will become a hallmark issue for the 2022 state and midterm elections.
Democrats also call on Governor Eric Holcomb to rescind his opposition to marijuana, because waiting on the federal government to legalize cannabis does not only contradict the “local government” approach by both Indiana Democrats and Republicans, but it’ll set the state’s economic and manufacturing opportunities behind the rest of the nation once nationwide legalization does become reality. Michigan and Illinois have recreational marijuana. Ohio has medicinal use and Kentucky is strongly considering allowing medicinal use very soon.
“Hoosiers have seen the impact that recreational and medicinal cannabis use has made on the states around us, and not only are they contributing to neighboring states’ economies, Indiana is now on the verge of losing out altogether. The Republican supermajority at the statehouse is losing its economic common sense if they do not join Democrats this session in making this opportunity a winner for the Hoosier State,” said Mike Schmuhl, Chairman of the Indiana Democratic Party. “Marijuana is a really popular issue, and a large majority of Hoosiers want to see this get done. Democrats are ready to take the lead on this effort because it’s a win-win for Indiana, and it’ll fulfill the Party’s consistent promise of creating a better future for Hoosier families. It’s time to legalize recreational cannabis across Indiana.”
A brighter future will be created for Hoosiers if the Indiana General Assembly legalizes marijuana in 2022. Hoosiers currently contribute millions of dollars to Michigan and Illinois economies — where cannabis is legalized. This can be changed because once authorized, Indiana’s economy would have a guaranteed cash crop in the long-term for the state’s businesses and farming communities, creating a revenue stream for the General Assembly to use in future sessions. Further, marijuana has been found to reduce opioid, alcohol, and prescription drug use and can be used as a therapeutic for Hoosier veterans to treat issues like PTSD and seniors to battle chronic pain and arthritis. Lastly, adding recreational marijuana to state law would introduce the pathway for Indiana to expunge criminal records of Hoosiers who were arrested for simple possession, which a large majority of Hoosiers believe should not be a penalized crime. There’s without a doubt legalizing cannabis would create a better future for Indiana and its families.
Legalizing marijuana has bipartisan support. Indiana Democrats – led by former State Senator Karen Tallian – have called for some form of cannabis legalization for the last decade. Democrats plan to introduce various forms of legalization or decriminalization legislation for the Indiana General Assembly’s 2022 legislative session. Further, Republicans like former State Senator Jim Merritt and State Representative Jim Lucas have also called for various forms of legalization – with Merritt writing an op-ed just last month.
Should Governor Holcomb and Indiana Republicans continue to say “NO” to cannabis, they will continue to prove to Hoosiers they are a political organization that values extreme partisanship ahead of a better future for families built on popular issues. Like with the American Rescue Plan and the Bipartisan Infrastructure Deal, Indiana Democrats are ready to once more deliver more opportunity for Hoosier families. Legalizing cannabis is a common-sense solution a huge majority of Hoosiers want, and Democrats are ready to get this done.