Despite the overwhelming success that the cannabis reform movement experienced in Tuesday’s election, the outcome of the Indiana gubernatorial race shows the Hoosier State won’t be reforming its marijuana laws anytime soon.
Lieut. Gov. Eric Holcomb, who took over for Republican Governor Mike Pence for a few months when he joined the political sideshow that will soon be called the Trump Administration, beat out Democrat John Gregg last night in the bid for Indiana governor.
Although the Democratic Party believed that Trump’s “grab them by the pussy” attitude would persuade the voters to go against the elephant, this measly handicapping tactic failed them miserably. Not only did Holcomb succeed in taking over as governor, the Republicans have maintained control of the Statehouse—all bad news in the grand scheme of marijuana reform in 2017.
Last month, during the state’s final gubernatorial debate, Holcomb told those in attendance that he was not interested in supporting any measure to legalize marijuana. Even though he did give some indication that he could get onboard with a bill seeking medicinal use, he said he wasn’t willing to entertain such action because marijuana advocates would not stop until it was legal in a manner similar to Colorado.
“If only medical marijuana would suffice, then I’d entertain that as an option,” he said. “But right now, in the world that we’re living in, expanding or legalizing drugs of this nature isn’t on my list.”
This attitude is something Indiana’s Republican-controlled legislature can really sink its teeth into. After all, every marijuana-related bill that has been introduced over the past few years has essentially been ignored and refused a hearing. Democratic Senator Karen Tallian, the leading force behind much of the state’s marijuana legislation, believes this lack of support stems from too many lawmakers being “afraid of it.”
But the Indiana Legislature does not appear to be representing the voice of the people. A recent WTHR/Howey Politics Indiana Poll finds a whopping 73 percent of the state’s population believes marijuana should be made legal across the state for medicinal use.
Although Senator Tallian is expected to introduce a new bill aimed at legalizing medical marijuana at the beginning of 2017, the results of Tuesday’s election almost guarantee it will put in the trash outside the Statehouse. So, while states like Illinois, Michigan, Ohio and even Kentucky, at some level, have legalized the leaf for medicinal purposes, Hoosier lawmakers are apparently more hell bent on trying to protect some illusion of morality than in making progressive changes that could benefit the state’s economy and its seriously ill residents.
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