Ohio voters’ decision to legalize recreational marijuana has surfaced on the topic again in Indiana, and it could be an issue when Hoosiers elect a new governor in 2024.
Legalization is regularly proposed in the Indiana legislature but has never moved forward, although Republicans are starting to get on board. Gov. Eric Holcomb has argued that he opposes legalization because of the federal designation of marijuana as a Schedule 1 drug.
But Indiana will elect a replacement for Holcomb in a year. A new governor could change the tone at the Statehouse on marijuana or maintain the status quo. IndyStar asked each of the many candidates about their positions and what they would consider supporting as governor.
U.S. Sen. Mike Braun declined to comment, but in the past said he recognizes the benefits of medical marijuana while recreational legalization is a question for future generations. Jamie Reitenour did not respond. Here’s what the other candidates said:
Republican Brad Chambers: undecided
Brad Chambers, former president of the Indiana Economic Development Corporation, said he hasn’t spent much time on the issue, but he won’t close the door.
“As we hear more about the potential for reclassification at the federal level, I believe we should evaluate the potential positive and negative impacts, learn from what other states have experienced, and determine the best path forward for a Indiana healthy and prosperous,” he said. said.
Republican Suzanne Crouch: opposed
“My family’s history of battling addiction and law enforcement’s stance against marijuana leads me to believe now is not the time to legalize,” said Lt. Gov. Suzanne Crouch.
Republican Eric Doden: opposed
“My campaign is about making Indiana communities safer and stronger and I don’t believe legalizing drugs is a way to accomplish that goal,” said Eric Doden, a Fort Wayne businessman. .
Republican Curtis Hill: opposed
Curtis Hill, a former Indiana attorney general, said his experience as a prosecutor informs his position.
“Having spent my life defending justice and prosecuting criminals, I have witnessed the devastating impact of drugs on our communities,” he said. “Marijuana use has destroyed many lives, and states that have legalized marijuana have seen an increase in black market products fueled by Mexican cartels. As governor, I will oppose the decriminalization of marijuana and protect our communities from the influx of marijuana, fentanyl, and other controlled substances banned by the federal government. Currently, there is no FDA-approved scientific evidence that there are positive medicinal benefits from marijuana or recreational drug use. Decriminalization of marijuana undermines efforts to protect public health and safety because it sends the message that unregulated controlled substance use is acceptable without considering its potential risks and consequences. »
Democrat Jennifer McCormick: in favor
“It’s time for Indiana to listen to the majority of Hoosiers and develop a legal, well-regulated cannabis market,” said Jennifer McCormick, the former state schools superintendent. “This opportunity would boost our economy by welcoming an industry proven to add millions of dollars to the state budget, as 37 other states have demonstrated. Legalizing medical marijuana would be the first step and would have the benefit of providing doctors an additional tool to treat suffering patients. Indiana must go even further by passing a law decriminalizing marijuana to support affected Hoosiers and the criminal justice system.
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Libertarian Donald Rainwater: in favor
Donald Rainwater said he believes Indiana’s marijuana ban contributes to violent crime, the rise of fentanyl-laced cannabis and the incarceration of too many non-violent people.
“Too much taxpayer money is being spent on Indiana’s failed war on cannabis,” he said. “Whether you believe cannabis is helpful or harmful, I believe every Hoosier should have the same rights to make their own decision regarding their cannabis use as they do with alcohol and tobacco. The time for our state government to recognize the right of its citizens to decide for themselves is now. Indiana should legalize and decriminalize all forms of cannabis and commute and expunge the sentences of Hoosiers who have been convicted non-violent cannabis offenses.
Contact IndyStar state government and politics reporter Kayla Dwyer at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow her on Twitter. @kayla_dwyer17.