Indiana Marijuana Decriminalization Measure Dies Without Hearing

Indiana Marijuana Decriminalization Measure Dies Without Hearing

INDIANAPOLIS, IN — A bill that could have decriminalized possession of small amounts of marijuana in Indiana has been killed by a committee chair who won’t allow a public hearing on the measure.

The bill, SB 580, was introduced earlier this year by Sen. Karen Tallian (D-Portage) and assigned to the Committee on Corrections and Criminal Law, chaired by Sen. Mike Young (R-Indianapolis).

“It’s dead for this year,” Sen. Young said, telling WISH-TV that he will not allow the bill to receive a public hearing.

The bill would have removed criminal penalties and the threat of jail time for possession of small amounts of marijuana in Indiana, and replace them with a civil citation and a fine, similar to a parking ticket. The bill would have also allowed the licensed production of industrial hemp, a non-psychoactive agricultural crop used to produce a wide variety of legal products.

Under current state law, possession of up to 30 grams of marijuana (approximately one ounce) is a misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in jail and a $5,000 fine. Possession of any more than 30 grams is a felony punishable by up to three years in jail and a $10,000 fine.

A majority of Indiana voters support removing criminal penalties for marijuana possession, according to a WISH-TV/Ball State University Hoosier Survey conducted last month. Specifically, it found 53% favored decriminalizing marijuana and just 41% were opposed.

“We will get a hearing on this bill,”  Sen. Tallian said Monday.

Sen. Young did say he would work with Sen. Tallian throughout this year to “learn a little bit more on this issue,” which could indicate that it may be considered for a hearing in the future — but not until 2014 at the earliest.

There are currently 15 other states that have removed criminal penalties for simple marijuana possession. Two of those states, Colorado and Washington, have removed all penalties for adult possession and are establishing systems in which marijuana sales will be regulated and taxed similarly to alcohol. Eighteen states and the District of Columbia allow the medical use of marijuana.

  • the truth

    what a shame

  • firetheliberals

    Bozos like this who block hearings are why people distrust polticians.

  • swineregulation

    So this out of touch so called representative is too scared to even have a hearing, but says he will work with the author of the bill to learn a little more? Does this frightened little man not read about issues in regard to marijuana and the failure of the drug war? Banging ones head against the wall for over forty years is the way we will end drug abuse? Does this little man not understand the waste of revenue and lives this has propagated? Does the little man not understand our policies enrich and empower the drug cartels? Obviously this man is living in the past, and not learning from it. Shame on this loser. Let’s make sure this out of touch idiot goes back to where he came from. He is not a good choice for a representative. It is hypocritical to not have a hearing but say he will talk to the author. This means he thinks he already knows best and must be like ninety five percent informed and will just get the other five percent by speaking to Tallian. Polls indicate the public opinion. This jerk has no clue. Relieve him of duty.

  • Mike

    The Illinois Democrats sure are thankful that the Indiana Republicans didn’t embarrass them by advancing a marijuana decriminalization bill. Illinois not only can’t get a working medical marijuana law on the books after 3+ decades of trying, but Illinois still makes you a criminal with possession of even a tiny amount of pot. There for a moment, Indiana looked like it might start acting a little more sensible than Illinois, but the political bosses have all dodged that bullet for now in both states.

    • Caliente1

      No, marijuana is decriminalized within the state of Illinois. They are also going to soon pass a bill that will make medical marijuana legal within the state. :)

      • Mike


        In Illinois at the state level, marijuana is not decriminalized. In fact, Illinois is one of the more harsh states when it comes to marijuana. Read more at:

        There are a number of cities where small amount possession offenses can be charged as a local offense without arrest/jail time being in the mix. However, this is only a local option and it’s difficult to tell whether police observe this in practice or simply charge at the state level at their discretion.

        As a prospective patient myself, it’s good that a medical use law passes. However, there are a number of problems that patients have with the law as it stands.

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  • Jordan Thomas

    indiana is still stuck in 1940’s i swear! if marijuana is a gateway drug, the gate opens to success and freedom and iconically a way to make stronger state govt’s rather then a strong federal govt which should never be the case in democracy ever. pick ya balls up and pass the bills. its gona happen!

  • Andrew

    Old republican bastard needs to get out right now. He shouldn’t have the authority to make the peoples decisions for them. It’s just a plant! Yet this guy goes home and probably drowns himself in bourbon or vodka. How can these old fuckers find alcohol acceptable, and marijuana not? They’ve never smoked it in there lives, and they have major hard ons against the users. Newsflash you old rickety shitheads, there would be less HARDER drug use such as heroin and coke, if you legalize marijuana. Also, the synthetic weed you always bitch about, would also go away. The only reason synthetic stuff was made was because you people keep the REAL thing illegal. Think about it. The FDA and DEA also needs to keep there hands off it. If your going to attack a harmless plant, maybe you should come seize my god damn oak trees in my back yard.

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  • Princesa

    Indiana is soooooooooo stupid!