INDIANAPOLIS (AP) -
An influential Republican lawmaker in the Indiana House of Representatives
said Friday that the Legislature should study the possibility of legalizing
Rep. Matt Lehman,
the majority floor leader, says he is sponsoring a resolution calling for an
interim study committee to research medical pot after the session. The Berne
lawmaker says he still has misgiving about medical marijuana, but noted 29
other states allow it.
He thinks lawmakers
should talk to experts and examine successes and failures in other states.
rightfully want to know what direction Indiana will take,” Lehman said in a
statement. “I believe it is wise of policymakers to carefully gather public
and professional input.”
Even if Lehman’s
measure is approved by the House, it will still require a council comprised
of lawmakers from both parties to approve the legislative study.
comes as libertarian-leaning Republican state Rep. Jim Lucas, of Seymour,
has agitated for legislation to legalize medical marijuana. That’s a
non-starter, with Republican Gov. Eric Holcomb and an influential
prosecutors association - among others - opposed to the idea.
But Lucas, who has
also voiced support for decriminalizing marijuana possession, sees it as a
winning issue with the public. On Wednesday, the session’s opening day, he
was cheered on by a raucous crowd of cannabis enthusiasts at the Statehouse.
"I didn’t come up
here to turn good Hoosiers into criminals, or deny them something ... that
provides a better quality of life for millions of people across America,”
Lucas said. “This is now a passion of mine. I will not stop until Indiana
becomes a medical cannabis state.”
Though Lehman wants
to study the issue, he sowed doubt over the likelihood of medical marijuana
coming to Indiana anytime soon. That would require significant change at the
federal level, he said.
believes is essential in order to determine the medical value of marijuana
has been stymied because pot is categorized as a “Schedule II” drug. Such
drugs are considered “dangerous” with a “high potential for abuse,”
according to the Drug Enforcement Administration.
“It’s a classic
catch-22,” Lehman said.