Indiana NORML applauds Senator Karen Tallian (D-Portage) for filing S.B. 314, which would call for the decriminalization of small amounts of Marijuana as well as the cultivation of the hemp plant once again in Indiana.
This is the beginning of an end to prohibition of Cannabis/Hemp/Marijuana in Indiana. Prohibition has been a wasteful and freedom-robbing effort to control something that needs to be regulated in an open market, where age of the buyer can be limited, the quality of the product ensured and fair business practices can be guaranteed.
According to a WISH-TV/Ball State University poll taken in late 2013, 78 percent of Hoosiers want Marijuana taxed and regulated like alcohol. This would create a new tax base for the State and millions of dollars pumped into the economy. On January 1st, Colorado began retail sales of Cannabis, and are expecting sales of $260 Million in 2014. Decriminalization is a first step in this process.
Indiana currently spends approximately $150 Million dollars a year locking up pot smokers. This money could be used for better things. Our current policies also help ruin any chances of people educating themselves and obtaining decent jobs by having a criminal record. Our jails remain overcrowded and our law enforcement resources continue to be tied up prosecuting Marijuana cases rather than serious, real crime. S.B. 314 will ease these problems immediately.
Hemp, which has no psychoactive abilities, would be a boon to Indiana’s economy for food, fuel, fiber, paper, plastics and a range of building materials. Indiana once had a thriving Hemp industry, and could have one again.
Marijuana prohibition is falling across the nation. Sooner or later Indiana will have to make the changes to end this thoughtless, immoral war on its citizens. Our state will be better off with an early end to arrests on Marijuana charges.
We urge all Hoosiers to contact their Indiana State Senators and urge passage of S.B. 314.