Marijuana decriminalization effort fails

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — The effort to decriminalize marijuana has failed in the General Assembly.  The marijuana bill called for making the possession of small amounts of marijuana a misdemeanor. 

Committee chairman Mike Young won't permit a public hearing on it.  "It's dead for this year," he said. 

Supporters of the decriminalization effort rallied at the Statehouse with support from former Libertarian candidate for governor Rupert Boneham. 

"In our constitution of our state of Indiana," Boneham told the small crowd, "it says punishment should match the crime."

The hopes of marijuana smokers lie in the shifting public opinions regarding marijuana use reflected in the recent WISH TV/Ball State Hoosier Survey.  It found 53 percent in favor of decriminalization and just 41 percent opposed.

The author of the marijuana bill is Sen. Karen Tallian (D-LaPorte.) 

"I have a lot of professional people sending me e-mails," she said, "saying where are you?  What can we do to help?"

Senator Young has agreed to keep listening to her. 

"So I can work with her over the summer and learn a little bit more about this issue before we hear it."

"We will get a hearing on this bill," says Sen. Tallian. 

But it will happen next year at the earliest.  In the meantime, marijuana is the subject of growing acceptance around the country.  Two states have legalized it completely.  Eighteen others permit the use of medical marijuana.

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NCMom, here's my reason they should decriminalize Marijuana. We ALL make mistakes. But why should some kid's future, his/her whole life be ruined over one mistake that hurts no one else. Currently, the punishment is far too harsh for the "crime". You said "If we would be tougher on those dealing and using drugs...". There are a lot of people that try Marijuana that NEVER deal drugs. So I say again, why should some one time mistake ruin a kid's chances of getting into an ivy league school, or getting government student loans, etc. Being punitive does NOT stop immaturity nor inquisitive acts. And as far as punishing habitual drug users, we've seen that fail because we've been punishing them for decades, and we're still losing the "war on drugs". What we need to be doing is improving the treatment for addicts, and helping larger numbers of them. After all, they are all someone's daughter or son, brother or sister, father or mother, aunt or uncle, and it's the whole family that suffers, not just the addict. We waste so much time and money in this country being punitive. What about compassion? Where is the Christian compassion and help, since so many that are judgmental claim to be Christian? Addicts are still people created by God, and as such, have inherent worth. We can't just keep kicking them to the curb.
Well said NCMom
alltate-I realize that it is not about legalizing marijuana. But it is the first step in heading down that path. Sixty years ago we would have been astounded if someone had told us that one day we could legally abort our babies...hmm...same with same sex marriage.... One came to pass and we are headed down the other path now. There has been a lot of hate and unkindness when expressing opposing views as of late. I appreciate hearing your point of view and your kindness in disagreeing. My new motto is to no longer be silent on the issues but to speak truth--in love.
NCMom, This bill would not legalize marijuana, it merely decriminalizes it. This is such a minor crime that fines are warranted but jail time is not. It's 2013--not 1913.
I urge our state officials NOT to adopt this bill. Our kids have enough hurdles to clear without making marijuana more acceptable in society. It doesn't matter what the "national" stage is doing, or what other states are doing. We need to hold the line and do what is in the best interests of our kids and future generations. The "cold medicine" issue is proof enough. Tough love is exactly that--tough. If we would be tougher on those dealing and using drugs, we wouldn't have the issues like having to limit cold medicines.

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