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Indiana Pot War

By Richard Farrell 05/05/2014

Opinions on medical marijuana are sharply divided in the Hoosier State. It seems the word first described “a bumpkin, a countryman, a hick, a roughneck, a rustic, or an awkward, uncouth or unskilled fellow”. Certainly, the government there is laboring under strange ideas concerning the role of a modern marijuana dispensary. It may be years before it follows the example of the wise folk down in Colorado.

Some business people have a different take on it. We should listen to them for they pay the taxes that keep Indiana rolling forward. A local tobacco storeowner was forthright when I spoke to him. “I think it would be a positive thing to have it happen in Indiana,” he told me. “There are a lot of people who smoke marijuana and it wouldn't be just young people. There are folks out there who are 60 to 70-years-old who are out there smoking it for medicinal purposes and probably for pleasure too".

He went on to mention that the cost of law enforcement is prohibitive. The question in Hoosier’s minds is whether this is merely an economic argument, or something deeper. A visit to the Indianapolis Library was revealing. I learned the politicians have a long history of stalling what the people want to happen. This is likely to be their stance on marijuana dispensaries no matter what any weed review may say.

In 2012, the Governor of the State of Indiana indicated that he was opposed to any form of marijuana reform because he regarded it as a gateway drug. He seems content with a policy that has tarnished the reputations of over 160,000 citizens in the past decade - and is showing no signs of backing off. Every week the media report fresh violations of the people’s right to enjoy their favorite weed strains for medicinal purposes. How much longer must the people suffer?

During the gubernatorial debate the leader of the opposition took up a similar position, although he did concede that a weed dispensary law was “worth studying”. Neither politician seemed aware of a poll taken shortly beforehand, when the vote for decriminalization was 52% as opposed to 45% against.

Indiana has a reputation for being a conservative state when it comes to leadership. In 1986, the people had to vote the speaker out before they got their referendum to allow the gaming rights they were demanding. It seems the campaign for legal weed – at least for medicinal purposes - will require a political event of similar proportions to make real progress.

For now, Indiana’s older folk who develop aging diseases like arthritis will be short of their right of legal access to an affordable, organic pain suppressant, and have to walk the streets at night in an effort to still their pain. Treating them as common criminals will hang heavily on Indiana’s conscience, until the democratic process rules supreme, and there is finally legal weed.

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