By Paul Armentano Legislation to consider the impact of the state’s marijuana policies, including costs in the state’s criminal justice system and the potential for regulation and taxation options, has been introduced in the Indiana Senate.
Senate Bill 192, sponsored by State Senator Karen Tallian (D-Portage), calls for a legislative review to be conducted by the Criminal Law and Sentencing Policy Study Committee later this year. In a prepared statement, Sen. Tallian said:
“The legislative review will compliment the ongoing work to reform Indiana’s sentencing laws by concentrating state correctional resources on the most violent criminals and taking a smarter approach to those who commit lesser offenses. In light of the state’s budget crisis, we need to make every effort to find more effective uses of taxpayer dollars.”
“Every year, we spend countless dollars pursuing these non-violent offenders. This study would provide an assessment of the actual costs to our criminal justice system including the impact on law enforcement, prosecution, and sentencing. It will also provide members of the public with the opportunity to voice their opinions on the state’s current policies and other options for regulating marijuana.”
“Indiana would not be alone in this effort, but in fact is behind most states in considering alternative policies. Fifteen states and the District of Columbia have legalized marijuana for medical use. Thirteen states have decriminalized possession of small amounts. Many other states are expected to consider medical marijuana or decriminalization of possession in small amounts this year. While Indiana may not be prepared to take steps in this direction, a complete study would provide the data and facts needed to make more informed decisions in the future.”
Under present state law, a minor marijuana possession offense is classified as criminal misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in jail and a $5,000 fine.
Additional information on this and other marijuana law reform efforts in Indiana is available from Indiana NORML here.
A coalition of House lawmakers have reintroduced legislation that seeks to legalize and regulate the “production, distribution, and sale” of marijuana to adults in Washington state.
House Bill 1550 allows for the state-authorized cultivation and distribution of marijuana and marijuana-related products.
A state fiscal analysis of the measure estimates that regulating marijuana sales could yield some $300 million in new revenue per biennium, while also reallocating an estimated $25 million annually in law enforcement costs.
House Bill 1550 has been referred to the House Committee on Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, which rejected a similar measure last year by a 6 to 2 vote. You can contact the members of this Committee here.
You can contact your House member in support of HB 1550 by entering your zip code below. Additional information and up-to-date information regarding the progress of these measures is available from the Washington state chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) here or by e-mailing Alison Holcomb at: firstname.lastname@example.org.