January 3, 2018 - 5:58 PM EST
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Will Indiana have medical marijuana in 2018?

A 28-page bill, filed by State Representative Jim Lucas, aims to legalize medical marijuana in Indiana. House Bill 1106, if passed, would allow for the cultivation, dispensing, and use of cannabis for those with serious medical conditions, and go into effect July 1, 2018.

Lucas said it’s "a common sense, best practices approach to decriminalizing an incredible option for millions of Hoosiers and offering them a better quality of life."

The bill "prohibits harassment of medical marijuana users by law enforcement officers," prohibits discrimination against medical marijuana users, and prohibits the state from in any way assisting federal enforcement officials, should they wish to crack down on users.

Last year, after Holcomb signed a law allowing those with a form of epilepsy to use cannabidiol, Indiana took a step towards medical marijuana. Often referred to as CBD, cannabidiol is derived from cannabis, but unlike THC, will not cause a high.

Indiana Attorney General Curtis Hill noted in December that despite the recently passed state law allowing certain patients with treatment-resistant epilepsy to use cannabidiol, CBD oil is still illegal in Indiana with a few rare exceptions and that statewide confusion over House Bill 1148 prompted his office to review and clarify.

In his advisory opinion, Hill stated that the bill legalized CBD oil for patients of treatment-resistant epilepsy and the patient’s caregiver could also possess it, but the patient must register with the state’s Department of Health.

Almost 97% of respondents said they disagreed with Hill’s opinion, in a recent poll on wane.com.

When asked if CBD oil is legal and if Hoosiers can purchase it in stores, Governor Holcomb, however, said “Yes. And they will continue to be able so,” and added that the administration would be in “education mode” over the next 60 days and making sure that people know that CBD oil without THC is legal in the state of Indiana.

Gov. Holcomb issued the following statement Tuesday to WISH-TV in Indianapolis:

Applicable law and opinions guide me to direct the Excise Police to perform normal, periodic regulatory spot checks of CBD oil products, focusing on those products which contain any level of THC. Because CBD oil has been sold in Indiana for several years, the excise police will use the next 60 days to educate, inform and issue warnings to retailers so there is a reasonable period of time for them to remove products that contain THC.

In the meantime, the General Assembly will have the opportunity to review existing CBD oil laws, as well as labeling requirements, while no confiscation of products occurs.

The legislation I signed in the spring continues to help protect Hoosiers struggling with epilepsy who use CBD oil products for treatment, provided they register with the Indiana State Department of Health.

Holcomb does not, however, believe that medical marijuana should be legalized in the state. “I’m not there,” he said. “I think the folks that would support that would be best served if they could get the support of the FDA. The FDA is the entity that approves drugs to improve our health. They have not.” (The FDA has stated that it does not object to the clinical investigation of marijuana for medical use.)

“In terms of medical or recreational, I am not for legalizing or decriminalizing. The folks that are just only focused on the medical benefits that may come from it, let’s convince the FDA to make this not just a cash business and a state-by-state hodgepodge.” Holcomb added.

In a letter sent to Republican Gov. Eric Holcomb, the Association of Indiana Prosecuting Attorneys argues any type of marijuana legalization would come with grave consequences.

Robyn Niedzwiecki, Chief of Staff for the Allen County Prosecutor’s Office made this statement:

We respectfully ask the (administration) to formally oppose the legalization of marijuana in any form,  for any purpose… We do not believe that legalizing marijuana would provide any benefit to our community.”

About the prosecutors’ letter, Lucas said:

This is what pisses me off: we got 29 states that are ahead of us that have shown the benefits. Can it be abused? Sure, anything can be abused. But since we know this can save lives, why do we want to continue to risk the quality of life, or the wellbeing of innocent people, just because some might go out there and abuse it?”

The prosecutors association disagrees, and say that those who advocate that marijuana has medicinal use are relying on “half-truths and anecdotal evidence,” despite scientific studies finding marijuana able to treat chronic pain and ease nausea from chemotherapy, among various other medical issues.

Source: PotNetwork News (January 3, 2018 - 5:58 PM EST)

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