Lawmakers appear destined to study the therapeutic benefits of marijuana, a baby step that could eventually lead to Indiana joining 29 other states in legalizing medical pot in one form or another.
The House voted 94-0 on Thursday in favor of a resolution by Berne Rep. Matt Lehman, which calls for a legislative commission to study medical marijuana.
The measure is backed by Rep. Jim Lucas, a Republican from Seymour who is an outspoken advocate for legalizing medical marijuana.
It’s one of several proposals addressing the potential benefit of marijuana, or marijuana-derived medicines, which have gained traction. Support for such legislation marks a significant sea change, albeit incremental, in the thinking of the GOP-dominated Legislature
During a floor debate, Lucas held up a bottle of whiskey, a bottle of aspirin and a pack of cigarettes. He said all were common items derived from plants or trees, but none are as contentious as marijuana.
“I’m not up here to sell cannabis as being the end-all-be-all magic bullet. It’s like anything else: it works for some, it doesn’t work for others,” Lucas said. “One of the biggest challenges we as a legislative body are going to face is coming through all the smoke, all the fear mongering, all the stigma, the ignorance.”
Last year, legislators approved a law allowing people with a severe form of epilepsy to use Cannabidiol, commonly referred to as CBD oil. The substance is derived from the marijuana plant but lacks the stuff that will that gets you high.
But confusion over the drafting of the law, combined with a prior hemp products law, led to authorities cracking down on the sale of CBD oil. Now consensus appears to be building this session around legislation that would remove many of those restrictions and allow anyone to buy it.