Indiana lawmakers introduce new wave of marijuana legislation

Published: Jan. 20, 2023 at 4:36 PM EST
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FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WPTA) -Indiana is one of a dozen states that has not legalized marijuana for medicinal or recreational use.

But with surrounding states like Michigan and Ohio legislators say it’s time to make some changes.

Indiana Senator Mike Bohacek has introduced two bills in the senate, one would decriminalize marijuana the other would change driving under the influence of marijuana.

“With all of the surrounding states having laws in place that legalize it to some extent (marijuana) that if somebody cross the border, and they are found to be in possession, I don’t think we need to flood the court system with misdemeanors, convictions and trials,” Indiana Senator Mike Bohacek said. “Something that was legally lawfully purchased a few miles away.”

Senate Bill 70 decriminalizes possession of one ounce of less of marijuana.

Under Indiana’s current laws anyone charged with marijuana possession face a class b misdemeanor punishable by up to 180 days in jail and face up to a one thousand dollar fine.

“Before we even begin any kind of legalization of marijuana, we have to fix our driving laws first,” Bohacek said. “So, we are not putting the wrong people in prison, and we aren’t charging people that aren’t impaired.”

Bohacek second bill, Senate Bill 82, surrounds intoxication and marijuana.

Under Indiana state law impairment is based on a blood test and not on a physical test.

“You could cause a car accident that resulted in death or severe bodily injury, and you could be charged with a level four or a level five felony and not even being paired,” Bohacek said. “Where it gets tricky is that the blood test doesn’t dumb delineate delta nine THC, which is a psychoactive component and delta eight and delta 10, which are the gummy’s you find to grocery store or also at the gas station so you could take those gummy’s that are non-intoxicating in for a period of time still test positive for THC metabolites.”

Both of Bohacek’s bills are still waiting to be assigned a hearing.

There are other bills currently in both the house and senate. Those bills look to create a process for the cultivation and sale of marijuana in the state, allow for the use of medical marijuana or help with criminal charges related to cannabis.

In the past, Governor Eric Holcomb has said he would not sign any legislation involving marijuana until the federal government takes action first. 21 Alive reached out to the governor’s office today and a representative for his office said that his stance hasn’t changed.