INDIANAPOLIS – Indiana lawmakers are taking a closer look at whether the state should consider allowing medical or recreational marijuana.
The Interim Study Committee on Public Health, Behavioral Health, and Human Services hosted a discussion on the topic Tuesday, focusing on “potential health benefits, potential decriminalization, and other potential consequences,” according to the committee’s meeting agenda.
It was a packed house for Tuesday’s meeting as lawmakers from both chambers and both parties, along with public health officials, heard public input.
For several years, Democrats and a handful of Republicans have introduced bills at the Statehouse focused on medical or recreational marijuana. None have received a committee hearing to be able to move forward.
Indiana is one of 13 states that has not legalized marijuana use in any form.
“This seems to be an issue that we’ve kind of demonized,” said State Sen. Ed Charbonneau (R-Valparaiso), vice chair of the summer study committee. “And by doing that, we’ve never had a real discussion.”
Republican legislative leaders have said they would prefer to wait for federal legalization first, but they gave the green light to Tuesday’s meeting.
Advocates like Jeff Staker, a veteran who supports medical marijuana, say it’s a promising step forward.
“It’s a safer way to heal, let’s put…