Yet another indicator of the inevitability of marijuana legalization came Tuesday when Paul Whitesell, Indiana State Police Superintendent, publicly advised state legislators that pot should be legalized and taxed. The 40-year law enforcement veteran told the State Budget Committee that pot “is here, it's going to stay.”
Whitesell went on to say, “If it were up to me I do believe I would legalize it and tax it, particularly in sight of the fact that several other states (Colorado and Washington) have now come to that part of their legal system as well.”
Whitesell also showed unusual compassion for drug offenders from a law enforcement official when he remarked: “There's an awful lot of victimization that goes with [pot convictions].”
Superintendent Whitesell made his declaration in answer to Representative Sheila Klinker (D-27th District) questioning him about proposed legislation to decriminalize simple possession of pot, a potential change to the state criminal code that is also supported by conservative lawmakers). Indiana has some of the most repressive pot laws in the USA, with possession being a felony unless it's a first-time offender caught with less than an ounce.
Unsurprisingly, the Indiana State Police as a collective institution immediately downplayed the significance of their Superintendent's candor when spokesman Capt Dave Bursten said in a prepared statement:
“The making of such laws are not the purview of the State Police and he [Whitesell] was not asked for an opinion in that context. Although the Superintendent personally understands the theoretical argument for taxation and legalization, as a police officer with over 40 years of experience he does not support the legalization of marijuana.”
That's not the way we heard it. Still, one way or the other, we hope it will soon be a lot easier to get high in the Hoosier State.