State Senator: Should Indiana Legalize Marijuana?

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  State Senator: Should Indiana Legalize Marijuana?

Posted by CN Staff on January 25, 2011 at 20:28:28 PT
By The Associated Press 
Source: Associated Press  

Indiana -- A state senator is asking a question she hopes will spur debate over sentencing laws and possibly save Indiana millions of dollars: Should the state legalize marijuana?Sen. Karen Tallian, D- Portage, is sponsoring a bill that would direct the criminal law and sentencing study committee to examine Indiana's marijuana laws next summer and come up with recommendations. Other states have decriminalized small amounts of marijuana or created programs to allow medical marijuana, and Tallian said it's time for conservative Indiana to start the discussion.
"We need to think about this," Tallian said. "We're cutting essential services out of the budget now, and it may not make sense to spend millions of dollars prosecuting marijuana cases."Democrats are far outnumbered in the Senate, but Senate Corrections Committee Chairman Brent Steele, R-Bedford, said he would give Tallian's proposal a legislative hearing. He said the study committee could help lawmakers determine whether they should explore the issue further — but noted that even in California, a proposal to legalize marijuana for adults over 21 failed."Quite frankly, in a more conservative state like Indiana, I can't imagine it passing," Steele said.Tallian's bill would direct the summer study committee to examine the issue and determine:— Marijuana's effects on Indiana's criminal justice system.— Whether possession and use of marijuana should continue to be illegal in Indiana and, if so, what penalties are appropriate.— Whether Indiana should create a medical marijuana program.— Whether marijuana should be completely legalized and treated like a controlled substance such as alcohol, with regulated sales and special taxes.Tallian believes current sentencing is not proportionate to the crime. For possession of less than 30 grams — about an ounce — of marijuana, an offender faces up to a year in jail. Those possessing over an ounce can be sentenced to up to three years.Tallian says there are about 10,000 to 13,000 marijuana cases each year, and that about 85 percent of those deal with possession. She had no estimates of how much the state pays to prosecute and house nonviolent marijuana offenders, but guessed Indiana could save millions."I'm tired of seeing people thrown in jail for what I think is something that's the equivalent of alcohol," Tallian said.A spokeswoman for Republican Gov. Mitch Daniels said the governor's response to Tallian's proposal was that "legislators can study whatever they choose to study. It's their decision."More than a dozen states have decriminalized possessing small amounts marijuana by eliminating prison time or reducing penalties to a civil fine, similar to a traffic violation, according to the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws. The group says 15 states and Washington, D.C., have medical marijuana programs.Tallian said the public's attitude toward marijuana is changing, but she acknowledged it can take years for controversial proposals to gain traction in the Legislature. She said her bill creating the study would simply explore the issue. Any legislation to change marijuana laws would have to wait until next year — at the earliest."It's just a study committee," she said.Source: Associated Press (Wire)Published: January 25, 2011Copyright: 2011 The Associated PressCannabisNews Medical Marijuana Archives

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Comment #4 posted by Garry Minor on January 27, 2011 at 11:55:20 PT
I agree!However, as a Hoosier, I'm just glad that they are at least beginning the the process. We have to start somewhere!Let the debate begin!!!
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Comment #3 posted by museman on January 26, 2011 at 14:37:06 PT
overpaid do-nothings
"Tallian said the public's attitude toward marijuana is changing, but she acknowledged it can take years for controversial proposals to gain traction in the Legislature."And why is that do you suppose?Maybe its because the 'legislature' has its own agenda that has nothing to do with the people, or the desires and will of the people.And they have such an exclusive hold on their 'positions' they make it nearly impossible to be replaced by someone who actually might intend to serve the publics interests instead of their corporate lords.So who does one vote for when all that is offered is the same old elitists? Well, the same old elitists of course.What a scam this political 'system' is!Ok everybody, back to work, no time for thinking, just go out and labor, labor, labor, then go home drink beer and watch gladiator sports on the tube. Have kids, train them to be obedient slaves and send them to slave school to make sure they might get a good position in the service of the lords. And if the stupidity of that breaks through the haze of alcohol and general lack of consciousness due to day-to-day suppression, watch out they don't break down your door to 'correct' your attitude.The notion and belief in Money is an illusion. Wealth is a well embedded religion, the power of which is promoted in every thing in this system. The substance of reality is not measured by bankers and politicians, it is measured by each individuals pain, and joy. It is measured by the life experience that has been hijacked into servicing the elite, at the expense of the planet and all life upon it -except the members of the club.Just try to live life without their 'permission' in everything you do. -They call those kinds of action 'criminal.' That my friends is fascism, evil, and wrong. It has never been right, but materialism undermines the peoples resolve every time. The original 'royalty' really got over on us with that one.Vote for the servants of kings and pharoahs - because that's who they are. They no more represent the interests of the people, than they have to appear to -and they've made quite a circus out of the pretense that they do.LEGALIZE FREEDOM
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Comment #2 posted by runruff on January 26, 2011 at 04:30:21 PT

If the Devil should call my name?
If he said, "hey Runruff, log on I want to talk to you!"I'd say, "I forgot my password for"He'd say, now listen, I am looking for my favorite gnome? Her name is Michele Leonhart. She looks like a Roseanne Barr mini-me but with pock marks, and an attitude like Eric Cartman on South Park, have you seen her? Yeah, Ive seen her, why?He'd say, ain't she a hoot????!!!!
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Comment #1 posted by The GCW on January 25, 2011 at 20:33:06 PT

Examine cannabis prohibition & extermination
Every state should be asking these same ???'s
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