Indiana Senate Committee to Vote on Tougher Marijuana Possession Law

Indiana Senate Committee to Vote on Tougher Marijuana Possession Law

INDIANAPOLIS, IN — A Senate committee is expected to vote Thursday on an amendment to a bill that would, among other things, increase the penalties of low-level marijuana possession from a misdemeanor to a felony.

House Bill 1006, introduced by Rep. Greg Steuerwald (R-Avon) has already been approved by the House, who voted 80-13 in favor of the bill last month.

The bill was originally intended to rewrite the criminal code to lessen penalties for low-level drug offenders and toughen punishment for the worst sex and violent offenders, directing more people convicted of low-level felonies to work release and other local programs rather than sending them to prison, but Gov. Mike Pence wants the state to be stricter on low-level drug offenders while sending a message that the state is tough on drug dealers.

At a press conference last week, Gov. Pence told reporters that he was unhappy with the bill’s provisions that would decrease penalties for entry-level drug offenses.

“I think we need to work on reducing crime, not reducing penalties,” Pence said during the press conference.

On Tuesday, the state Senate’s Criminal Law Committee discussed a change to the proposed bill that would increase the felony and misdemeanor levels of marijuana dealing and possession charges.

That proposed change, which is expected to be voted on Thursday by the Senate Committee on Corrections & Criminal Law, would make possession of between about one-third of an ounce and 10 pounds of marijuana the lowest-level felony rather than the highest-level misdemeanor.

The bill makes sweeping changes to the Indiana criminal justice code, increasing penalties for many crimes, not just simple marijuana possession.

“This bill is not soft on crime by any means,” Rep. Steuerwald said. “We have ramped up the penalties on rape, child solicitation, child seduction, sexual battery, sexual misconduct with a minor. All those things are amped up.”

Provisions of the plan include dropping the state’s current four-tier system of felonies that range from class A, the most serious felonies with the longest sentences, to class D.

It would be replaced by a six-tier system, with class 1 being the most serious.

The state Department of Corrections has voiced concerns over the bill, projecting that the bill’s passage will lead to heavily increased population of the state’s prisons.

The DOC projects that the state’s prison population could grow by 70 percent in 20 years if the bill becomes law.

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  • Mike

    Geez, these guys are barbarians. Glad I moved away because I couldn’t buy beer on Sunday. I know there are intelligent people in Indiana who are as appalled as I am about the latest round of chest-thumping, ear-bitin’, stumbling around like a drunk lawmakin’ in Indy. These folks might make the cut for some weird new reality show, but only in the seriously hayseed category, like “Whose Your Daddy Now?!” where pairs of redneck Republicans get to compete in stuffing their faces full of hot dogs and gov’t cheese From Gov. “No Sense” Pence on down to the shortest bullnecked Sheriff Napoleon, they all think they’ve been set up as Lord Demons overall they can see.

    Pence sez: “I think we need to work on reducing crime, not reducing penalties…”

    Easiest way to do that, Guvnor, is to simple legalize it.

    Because the definition of insanity is doing something dumb over and over again and expecting different results. None of the smokin’ Hoosier’s I know has ever been much impressed by the laws against it.

    In fact, the only reason they have to keep raising their legal cruelty factor is the law enforcement folks get a gold star in their file for each bust. Since management doesn’t much believe in raises, they gotta rely on those cheap gold stars to keep the force happy. It takes a whole lotta gold stars to keep those fellas happy nowadays. Some day they’ll wise up and rebel, too, against this pointless, silly legal crap shoot and two-bit banana-Republican head up its @ss plantation.

  • honey boy

    Another mf idiot, he must be getting paid from the private prisons.. they make no money unless they are feeding someone. Punishing someone for possession of pot is stupid, legalize and tax… how long is public going to take this nonsense from these so called elected (bribes) officials.

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  • Andrew swanteni

    The logics that Pence is using is very flawed. Do you really think it’ll cut down on the use of marijuana? All this will do is fill up more prison systems and incline dealers and growers to sell more… If a possession of a joint isn’t a crime, a cop won’t arrest you for having a joint. However, say a joint is a felony or so, the police must now arrest you for committing a crime. This law won’t do anything besides fill Pence’s pockets from private prisons and “Rehab programs”. The assumptions and accusations made by Pence and other’s is that “We have more kids in marijuana rehab treatment programs today more than we ever have”. This is true, however, what they don’t tell you, is how those numbers were added: When a person is caught in Indiana for the first time with marijuana, the court gives them a choice: A. Go to Jail and serve the sentence, or B. Go to “Rehab/Treatment”… Obviously I would choose rehab over jail any day. The statistics show that 97% of marijuana users in treatment were from court ordered sentences.

  • http://www.facebook.com/steve.baranick Steve Baranick

    well build more prisons just borrow the money from china,if ur so stupid to not take advantage of what has been God sent to us.ok u get us out of this mess that u and other politicians got us into,think i’ll move to Greenland,,,what is he tryin to do when we r tryin to lesson the marijuana and hemp,something shady is dam sure goin on,,,

  • Randy

    i personally bet that if they vote in favor of it a lot of Hoosiers won’t be voting for them come next election.It’s got to be the dumbest bill Ive ever heard of.I ‘ m a horticulturist and i say you are wrong for judging a plant you know nothing about.Start thinking about whats really best for Indiana Before the rest of the country economically leaves us behind ,,,, again.

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  • Wiz Khalifa

    That’s so mf stupid!!!!!!! I’m mad now, glad I font live in that state

  • Johnathan

    Mike pence needs to do his job and listen to the people not his bank account. Impeach mike pence. He is not listening to the people of Indiana.