Marijuana Decriminalization Gets Conservative Support In Indiana

Marijuana reform is a hot topic of conversation in state legislatures around the country and not just in traditionally liberal states like California and Rhode Island. In fact, bills to make marijuana possession punishable by a fine only, rather than jail time, were introduced this year in conservative bastions like Arizona and Tennessee, and it’s a too-well-kept secret that such laws have been on the books since the ’70s in Mississippi, Nebraska, Ohio, and several other less-than-liberal states.

You can now add Indiana to the list of states where the conversation has gone mainstream. Last week, influential Republican state Senator Brent Steele (R-Bedford) announced he’d be introducing legislation to make possession of up to 10 grams of marijuana an “infraction,” punishable by fine, rather than a criminal misdemeanor.

“We have to ask ourselves as a society, do we really want to be locking people up for having a couple of joints in their pocket,” Steele told local media. “Is that how we want to be spending our criminal justice resources?” Steele also pointed out that several other states have already embraced similar policies, noting that “society didn’t melt down, and we didn’t turn into a drug-crazed culture as a result of it.”

Similar legislation has been introduced before by state Senator Karen Tallian (D-Portage), but without the support of Republicans, who hold a majority in both chambers, it never got off the ground. Speculation is that Steele’s support could change that. Steele, who is closely allied with Indiana prosecutors and is described by Indiana political veterans as a “rock-ribbed law-and-order guy,” chairs the powerful Senate Committee on Corrections, Criminal and Civil Matters where the bill would likely be assigned.

18 thoughts on “Marijuana Decriminalization Gets Conservative Support In Indiana”

  1. The number one most important question to United States Senator before election day: Are you for auditing the Federal Reserve?

    Find out why money is no problem when it comes to marijuana prohibition?

    Audit the Fed!

  2. In 1974 I went to jail for 1 year for 3 roches in my car ashtray and to jail a no. of times for a very little Marijuana/// it would be a wonderfull thing to keep GOOD PEOPLE out of jail for any amount of Marijuana SO PLEASE HELP and PASS THIS FOR THE PEOPLE/// Thank You//

  3. Note that Steele still stands by assessing a fine, i.e. making cannabis more expensive and dangerous to possess than tobacco, so that children are steered toward addictive nicotine. Big 2WackGo still gets something for its money contributed to Republican campaigns.

  4. I’ll have to follow this bill as I think Sen. Steele’s involvement could change things. While it’s not perfect, getting a decriminalization bill in place will help show the state the benefits of reforming cannabis laws. Good post.

  5. I really do hope that something is done but within the last year I see fewer arrests for meth and a huge uptick in simple possession arrests reported in the paper and IMO if they could not find anyone with weed LEO would dig in the law books to find an obscure law nobody has heard of since 1850; riding a horse backwards or a woman not riding sidesaddle; basically anything to keep them busy to justify their existence.

    After 911 and the creation of “The Department of Homeland Security” distributing funds with the attitude of “no expense is too great” led to saturation patrols and holiday checkpoints even with no holiday so LEO has received new cars, dogs, a new jail so the number of inmates in the county jail rose from an average of 12 in 1980 to just over 200 today with a corresponding jail employees and expense; the number on probation must be just as staggering not to mention the expense if that is not classified!

    With no terrorists to investigate the local police have been militarized as not to be recognizable from the pre 911 force; no government agency I can think of has ever disbanded or shrunk in size or budget with the growth in police numbers the use it or loose it saying makes a future full blown Police State a sure thing rivaled only by what Hollywood could have dreamed up.

    I really do believe that since using the military on the civilian population the Feds will continue to fund LEO as if they are the US Army complete with the inevitable mission creep the face of small town America has been distorted so quickly I no longer recognize my own hometown.

  6. I believe there should not be a law again it at all. It is a all natural an that more then I can say about a lot of thing now. Indiana got some of the worst drunk i ever seen. I have travel all over U.S.A. look at all the stuff in the air, Food,water It worst then pot. People here get drunk here it not funny an they do all kinds of bad stuff. An let take a look at Cig. look at what they put in then. Does this make sense? But Pot bad.mmmmm figure this out!

  7. Drunks beat up there woman an kids. drunks have sex with little kids, Wreck there cars or trucks an don,t care who they kill. They kill there liver.An more!

  8. It remanes to be seen whether the Indianapolis Police Dept will go along with this bill. I suspect many in the dept see these laws as a tool for creating a pretext to conduct a warrantless search, which is a major tool for big-city cops in thier fight to keep minorities “in thier place.” it is my understanding that cops need an arrestable infration to justify searching a vehicle without a search warrant.

    Being a resident of indy for most of my life, i don’t see IPD going along with this. Hope im wrong.

  9. If it is decriminalized, why is there a fine? It’s either legal or it’s not, placing a fine on marijuana and calling it an infraction is either a crime or a tax. Which is it Mr. Steele? If you are going to decriminalize take all of the strings off and leave the people alone.

  10. I am 56 yrs old and was diagnosed with l.B.S. when I was 22. I was eventual diagnosed with Crohns Disease. I have been using Pot for the pain and nausea from the beginning. I was diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis in “96” I have since having a lot of other problems related to this disease. I am now on disability and cannot afford to buy it. I live in Ohio and PRAY that Indiana does lead to some kind of Legalization..

  11. I am not a smoker but I am definitely for medical marijuana and decriminalization of marijuana and we are the people of Indiana get petitions started. Get our government on board and if they are not on board lets vote them out. I am from Indiana and EVERYONE I know has either smoked, currently smoke or will smoke if it is legal. Stop fearing and unite as one. Rally on Indianas capital when they see the unity they will be forced to deal with this.

  12. In the past, every culture for thousands of years had a variety of uses for this’ seed bareing plant'; also in the book of Gensis. Around the time of George Washington, 1st president of u.s.a. probally smoked, alot of”peace pipes’ with the native indians, and help refined the growth process and cultivation production of this highly benificial plant. Pot-weed-herb etc..etc.. has a variety of medical purposes; thousands of years of other cultures historys saport this! Colrado/Washington leagalization. 18 other states decrimnalized it. And some medicalized it. The liquor probition failed. And the pot prohibition failed. The mass production resins and oils and other variety byproducts, of this plant, can creat a wide variety of jobs to help save the economy. Indiana decriminalize, medicalize, legalize it soon as possible! Its one plant that can save the world!!

  13. It is about time for the truth to come out. If people would just examine the FACTS, not the rhetoric, marijuana would have been legal decades ago. If people just understood the metabolites hang around for a month, but the effects are gone in a few hours….STILL you can be charged with dui, even though the buzz has long been gone. Like getting a dui for a wild turkey weekend you had two weeks ago. “Reefer Madness” , for those of you reading this who are not familiar with the propaganda, was entertainment…not a documentary…

  14. i have many uncurable health conditions. i am in pain every second of the day and night.i currently eat vicodens prescribed by my doctors. my docs say that i should move to a med legal state. they also say that the current meds will destroy my liver, kidneys, and eventually will kill me.my docs say that pot will replace almost all my meds and will control my pain and yet its still illegal.this is bullshit that i have to live this way.please help those of us who need this as a legal med. and yes you can contact me if needed.

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