INDIANAPOLIS (AP) —
An Indiana legislative committee hasn't reached an agreement yet on whether
the state should join 31 other states in legalizing medical marijuana.
The interim study
committee on public health heard testimony on the issue for the first time
Thursday. More than a dozen legislators, doctors and other health
professionals testified that Indiana residents with debilitating health
conditions deserve access to medicinal marijuana.
"We have increasing
science-based evidence that medical marijuana is a useful treatment," said
Democratic Sen. Karen Tallian of Ogden Dunes.
Commissioner Dr. Reuben Rutland said marijuana has been found to help
alleviate numerous illnesses, such as muscle spasms, multiple sclerosis,
seizure disorders, Parkinson's disease, Crohn's disease and post-traumatic
stress disorder. He said marijuana could also be a good alternative to other
more expensive or addictive medications.
"We do not want to
just provide opioids," Rutland said.
But the panel
defeated a recommendation affirming the medical benefits of marijuana for
certain chronic conditions and establishing a state regulatory agency. The
committee also rejected a statement that there should be further study of
"It looks like we
are at an official impasse," said Republican Rep. Cindy Kirchhofer of Beech
Medicinal marijuana opponents highlight that marijuana use remains illegal
under federal law and argue that marijuana use could lead to other societal
from the Indiana Chamber of Commerce, the Indiana Prosecuting Attorneys
Council and the Indiana Attorney General's Office said the state should wait
until medical marijuana is recognized by the U.S. Food and Drug
Administration as a legitimate treatment.
"This is not the
right time for Indiana to go down this road," said Aaron Negangard, chief
deputy for Republican Attorney General Curtis Hill.
marijuana supporters say they'll continue pushing for legalization.
"The genie is out
of the bottle," said Republican Rep. Jim Lucas, a proponent of the
legalization of medical marijuana. "This conversation is going to continue
moving forward. I'm going to make it my mission."