As the 2018 Indiana General Assembly gets underway, a bill to legalize medical marijuana has been filed. But this year’s proposal may have more momentum.
Rep. Jim Lucas (R-Seymour) spoke at a rally at the Statehouse to announce his bill to legalize cannabis for anyone with a serious medical condition. This is not the first bill filed with that aim, but Lucas is hopeful and says he started researching cannabis after the legality of CBD was questioned.
“Why aren’t we one of the 29 states that don’t criminalize its citizens for seeking a better quality of life?” Lucas says.
In November, Lucas announced his intention to file this legislation spurring backlash from Gov. Eric Holcomb and the Indiana Commission to Combat Drug Abuse. He also received support from the American Legion.
Marijuana advocate David Phipps says the bill would allow providers to prescribe cannabis to anyone in Indiana.
“So no matter what their issue is, if a doctor believes it’s going to help them, then they can recommend medical cannabis to that patient,” Phipps says.
Phipps has supported legalization in the past and believes this could be the first medical cannabis bill to make it through the House. He expects a bigger challenge in the Senate.
“We’re going to see a tremendous reduction in opioid overdose deaths in the state as soon as we get full medical legalized,” Phipps says.
A handful of studies point to lower opioid deaths rates in states that have legalized medical cannabis.