Medical Marijuana Not Coming to Indiana in 2021
It seems the question we hear the most from visitors to this site is “When will I finally be able to get an Indiana Marijuana Card?”
And, sadly, we always have to answer “We just don’t know.”
But fortunately, we do know legal medical marijuana will be available in Indiana someday, and we think that day will come sooner than later.
For Medical Marijuana in Indiana, it Was a Discouraging Legislative Session
Of course if you’ve been paying attention to the state legislature, the idea of medical marijuana coming to Indiana may seem more like a pipe dream than ever.
This past year, eleven different pieces of marijuana-reform legislation were proposed in the Indiana legislature, with only one of them passing both houses. And it’s not a medical marijuana bill.
Senate Bill 201, which the Indianapolis Star called “The marijuana bill that made it,” allows for a defense against charges of operating a vehicle after having used marijuana. According to the Star, “The defense is applicable if at the time of operation the person was not intoxicated, the person did not cause a traffic accident and the substance was identified by means of a chemical test.”
The Medical Marijuana Laws that Might Have Been
While it strikes us as progress not to prosecute drivers who have used marijuana but who aren’t under the influence, it’s little consolation considering some of the legislation that died in their respective houses. There were four different medical marijuana bills introduced in the Indiana legislature this past year, three in the House and one in the Senate.
Senate Bill 321, which was authored by Senator David Niezgodski, would have established a five-year medical marijuana pilot program to have been overseen by the Indiana State Department of Health. It would have also lowered penalties for illegal possession and have ended probation revocation on the sole basis of cannabis possession or use. The bill was referred to the Committee on Corrections and Criminal Law, where it was not given a hearing.
House Bill 1026, authored by Representative Jim Lucas, would have allowed patients with serious medical conditions, as defined by their physicians, to use medical marijuana. The bill would have also prohibited both harassment of medical marijuana users by law enforcement officers and cooperation with federal law enforcement officials who attempted to enforce federal marijuana laws that criminalized use recognized as legal by the state. The bill was referred to the Committee on Public Health, where it was not given a hearing.
House Bill 1214, authored by Representatives Sue Errington and John Bartlett, would have established a medical marijuana program under which patients and caregivers with a physician’s recommendation could possess a set quantity of marijuana. The bill was referred to the Committee on Public Health, where it was not given a hearing.
House Bill 1547, authored by Representatives Zach Payne, Jake Teshka, and Heath VanNatter, would have established a medical cannabis program to be overseen by the Indiana State Department of Health. The bill was (stop us if you’ve heard this one before) referred to the Committee on Public Health, where it was not given a hearing.
So Why Should We be Optimistic About Medical Marijuana Coming to Indiana?
Seeing all of those bills abandoned to die in committee can be pretty discouraging, but believe it or not, there are reasons for optimism, even in this legislative graveyard.
Medical Marijuana is Getting Bi-Partisan Support
Traditionally, Democrats have been more supportive of medical marijuana, and Republicans more bullish on prohibition. And with the GOP enjoying supermajorities in both chambers of the Legislature, nothing is going to progress on medical marijuana without Republican support.
Fortunately, more and more Republicans are starting to see the light when it comes to the medicinal value of cannabis.
Jill Swing of the medical marijuana advocacy group South Carolina Compassionate Care Alliance told Florence, South Carolina, CBS affiliate WBTW that as public opinion nationally has shifted in favor of legalizing medical cannabis, “The greatest increase in support has been Republicans who support it.”
Republican lawmakers who were once worried about losing conservative support by championing medical marijuana have instead “been touted as heroes by stepping out and supporting medical cannabis legislation,” Swing said.
And Indiana appears to be maintaining that trend towards bipartisan support for medical marijuana. Yes, it’s true that all four bills that would have created medical marijuana markets here died in Republican-controlled committees who refused to even grant the bills a hearing. But it’s also true that those four bills were authored by four Republicans and three Democrats.
Indiana is Losing Money by Dragging its Feet on Medical Marijuana
Another reason to be optimistic about medical marijuana’s chances here is, unfortunately, rooted in a sad truism: American politics is all about money.
When the winds of legislative fortunes start to blow against those Americans who have all the fortunes, they tend to withhold their financial support, which can cripple politicians.
And the most affluent in the Hoosier State can’t be happy about the financial windfall the state is missing out on by not getting with the times and legalizing medical marijuana.
Besides the business opportunities a medical marijuana market creates (new business for doctors, establishing dispensaries, growing product, etc.), those markets also generate significant tax revenue.
Jared Moffat of the Marijuana Policy Project, a pro-legalization advocacy group, told Newsweek that loosening marijuana prohibitions “has proven to be a wise investment. Not only are states seeing the benefits of a regulated market and far fewer cannabis-related arrests—they're benefitting in a direct, economic way, too.
“Before legalization, money from cannabis sales flowed through an underground market that endangered public safety and disrupted communities. But now, we see all across the country that revenue from the legal cannabis industry is supporting schools, health care, and a range of other beneficial public programs.”
Indiana Can’t Continue to Fight the Will of the People
According to the Associated Press, 80% of Hoosiers support medical marijuana, with just 16% favoring a total prohibition on cannabis. That mirrors trends nationally, where 91% of Americans say they support medical marijuana laws.
And closer to home, three of the four states bordering Indiana have medical marijuana programs, putting even more pressure on the Hoosier State to get with the times.
We Don’t Know When, but Medical Marijuana is Coming to Indiana
So while we unfortunately can’t tell you when you’ll be able to get that Indiana Marijuana Card, we know the day is coming. And soon. Prohibitionists can’t continue to ignore the will of Indiana voters and Americans in general, the economic burden of continued prohibition, nor the undeniable medical benefits marijuana can offer.
And while you may have no choice but to wait for Indiana to get with the times, you can start getting ready for medical marijuana’s arrival here right now!
Reserve a medical marijuana evaluation online today with one of our knowledgeable, compassionate cannabis doctors, and we’ll book an appointment for you just as soon as Indiana’s medical marijuana market is up and running.
You’ll meet with your new medical marijuana doctor virtually, using your computer or smartphone for a telemedicine appointment. Together, you’ll discuss your condition and whether medical marijuana might be right for you. You’ll even save $25 off the cost of your evaluation!
Doctors Who Care.
Relief You Can Trust.
We’re dedicated to helping all people safely and conveniently find relief and wellness through access to medical marijuana. By focusing on education and inclusion, we hope to reduce the stigma surrounding cannabis and those who want to use it to enhance their health.
If you have any questions, call us at (833) 781-7755, or simply reserve a medical marijuana evaluation today!