Legalization continues elsewhere, but marijuana lobby isn’t banking on Indiana – Chicago TribunePosted by On

INDIANAPOLIS — Advocates for marijuana legalization are making their voices heard at the Statehouse but remain wary to put cash toward a lobbying push in the Indiana General Assembly.

A summer study committee renewed discussions around medical and recreational marijuana legalization, with many fearing the state could lose out on millions in tax revenue if the General Assembly continues to avoid considering the topic. However, lobbying groups have put forth little financial support for legislative action, according to a report by the Arnolt Center for Investigative Journalism and The Indiana Citizen.

“I don’t think enough people are interested in the legalization yet and I think that the leadership in the Legislature needs to focus on it because it is a huge, missed opportunity if they don’t do something this year,” said Kip Tew, a partner at Ice Miller, which is representing Stash Ventures, a Michigan-based cannabis company.

Stash Ventures has ramped up its lobby ahead of the 2023 legislative session. The company spent $191,347 on lobby efforts in 2022, according to state lobbying disclosures. In 2021, the group spent $2,000.

But Stash Ventures is the sole player in the pro-marijuana lobbying game. Other groups advocating for legalized medical and recreational marijuana are making their presence known in Indianapolis but have yet to open their wallets.

Hammond mayor and U.S. Senate candidate Tom McDermott speaks during a press conference in West Lafayette on Friday, April 22, 2022 regarding the legalization of marijuana in Indiana. At left is Jason Straw of the Indiana chapter of the National Organization for The Reform of Marijuana Laws, and registered nurse Shelly Straw. (Michael Gard / Post-Tribune)

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