The largest veterans organization in Indiana could soon petition the General Assembly in hopes of forcing it to consider the legalization of a statewide medical marijuana program.
According to the Kokomo Tribune, the American Legion Department of Indiana is scheduled to vote on a proposed resolution next week, calling for area lawmakers to get serious about providing veterans with the freedom to use cannabis as an alternative to prescription drugs.
The resolution, if approved during the Legion’s upcoming conference in Indianapolis, would be the largest endorsement for legal marijuana to ever surface in the state of Indiana.
“Who’s going to get this done? Veterans have a better chance of being at the tip of the spear than Joe civilian,” Legion member Jeff Staker said. “Legislators listen to veterans. We’ve got to get their attention, and who better to do that than veterans?”
The state resolution has a fighting chance of going the distance, especially since the American Legion approved a similar battle cry last year during its national convention.
In August, the Legion urged the U.S. DEA to downgrade the Schedule I classification of the cannabis plant in an effort to facilitate research.
Ultimately, the national resolution was a high-pressured attempt to get the U.S government to finally recognize marijuana as a safe and effective treatment for those soldiers suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and traumatic brain injury.
It was this action that inspired Staker to grip the Legion’s platform in an effort to strong-arm lawmakers in the Hoosier State to finally give medical marijuana a chance.
“We needed to do something here at the state level,” he said. “I’ve been talking to a lot of American Legion posts, and they all said, ‘We’re all for it.’”
In years past, Indiana lawmakers have been unsuccessful in so much as getting a hearing for modest medical marijuana legislation. The Republican dominated legislature has simply refused to allow any marijuana reform measure to get so much as a second of life in committee. However, this rotten attitude could change under the influence of the Indiana American Legion, which comes with the power of 84,000 vets across the state.
In an ongoing poll being conducted by the Indiana Legion, nearly 82 percent of the respondents say they support the use of medical marijuana to treat veterans. So far, only two percent are opposed.
It is for this reason that Staker believes the state resolution will be met with approval next week.
“I think it’s going to pass, because I see this as a trend throughout the U.S.,” he said. “This is an issue that if Hoosier voters would have put on the ballot, it would have passed in November. No doubt in my mind.”
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