A Republican Indiana lawmaker who serves in House leadership has announced she’ll be introducing a bill to legalize marijuana for both recreational and medical use in the upcoming legislative session. Rep. Cindy Ziemke (R), who has worked to raise awareness about substance misuse since her sons struggled with addiction, says she recognizes the obstacles of enacting cannabis reform in the conservative legislature. But she’s hoping that leadership will at least allow a committee hearing on her forthcoming proposal. The measure would legalize cannabis for adults 21 and older and set up a regulated system of sales, mirroring neighboring Michigan’s marijuana law. It would also establish a medical cannabis program in the state. While the text is not publicly available yet, the lawmaker told Indianapolis Business Journal that the bill would create a state commission to regulate the market, issue cannabis business licenses, and set a tax on marijuana sales with revenue supporting public health initiatives. Ziemke says that part of the reason she decided to sponsor the reform legislation is that she believes it will help divert people from the illicit market where they might be exposed to other drugs. One of her sons, who is eight years in recovery from heroin addiction, encouraged her to pursue the reform for that reason. “So much of it also comes from when I called my son and I said, you know, ‘what do you think about me authoring this cannabis bill?’ And he said, ‘You should do it.’ He said, ‘because you know those folks will go to a dealer to get the pot and could end up leaving one day with meth,’” Ziemke said. “I want a safe product that’s out there that’s controlled.” The lawmaker also emphasized the importance of appropriating revenue for public health purposes.
Kyle Jaeger, Marijuana Moment, 12/27/2021 12:11:00