Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Tallian Takes on Hill on Legalization of Marijuana in Indiana

Senator Karen Tallian
Former gubernatorial candidate and Indiana state Senator Karen Tallian went after Attorney General Curtis Hill's positions on the legalization of marijuana in an op-ed released by the Indiana Senate Democrats.

Hill detailed his positions in an Indianapolis Star piece published on June 1 begging presumably the Indiana General Assembly to not legalize marijuana.  In the process, he runs through a myriad of greatest hits (no pun intended) of those opposed to legalization...you know...it's a gateway drug that warps your mind.

Well, Tallian is having none of it. She writes...
I was dismayed by the recent inflammatory Op-Ed from Indiana’s new Attorney General regarding marijuana reform laws. His portrait of “money-hungry profiteers…with dollar signs in their eyes” lining up at the doors of the Indiana legislature sounds like a firebrand sermon preaching hell-fire and brimstone.

Having submitted marijuana reform legislation, and monitored every proposal that has been filed, I have some experience in what is in the legislature. Although there is a lot of citizen interest, most of the lobbyists roll their eyes at the thought of marijuana legalization in Indiana.

But that is not the end of the story. The AG’s editorial cautions us against “flirting” with any reforms. Indiana’s prosecutors have most vehemently opposed any reform actions, sometimes resorting to what can only be described as self-serving deceit.

Marijuana Reform is simple, even if one does not support legalization.

We should stop putting our kids in jail, or giving them criminal records, for possession of a substance that is legal in many other places. Current laws make it impossible for someone convicted of a drug crime as a teenager to find a job once they have completed school. We penalize our youth for their lifetime for being busted in high school.

The “gateway” drug theory is simply not even a valid argument. Marijuana is not heroin. Mr. Hill’s “citations” regarding addiction, impaired driving, and crime are misleading at best, and totally fail to give the real conclusions of those studies.

It is true, we have an opioid problem in our society. A huge part of it is attributable to prescription drugs, and the situation is not relevant to marijuana reform. Further, and to the contrary, much research shows that marijuana may be used to help addicts “come down” from more serious drugs.

Now that some states have allowed for it, medical research is blossoming and supporting the cause for medicinal marijuana. Double-blind laboratory studies have proven positive effects in epilepsy, and more research is being done all the time. Research should be encouraged at our state medical institutions, but that too is illegal. Something that could be alleviated through reform laws.

Finally, and we know this as a nation, prohibition of a substance that is accepted by such a huge portion of society has never worked. I could have written an entire Op-Ed on this subject alone.

This year the General Assembly took a step forward in medical options for Hoosiers by legalizing cannabidiol oil for certain epileptic children. I hope the members of the General Assembly continue down the path of options, and not the fear mongering coming from our Attorney General.
To be continued in the General Assembly.

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