Mixed Messages in the Hoosier State: Is Indiana the Next State to Legalize Medical Marijuana?

Even with strong support for medical marijuana in the state, Indiana has one of the nation’s strictest medical cannabis programs.

A poll conducted by Indiana media outlet WTHR/HPI revealed a majority (73 percent) of Indiana voters support medical marijuana in the state.

The poll reveals support for medical marijuana across various age groups and political affiliations. Those ages 65 and older show the lowest support among age groups with 57 percent in support. When categorized by political party, voters in all parties support legalization for medical purposes:

  • 82 percent of Democrats
  • 77 percent of Independents
  • 59 percent of Republicans

Despite this strong support from voters in the state, Indiana has had difficulty creating a medical marijuana program. Senate Bill 284 to legalize medical marijuana in Indiana failed in 2015 before the state would eventually craft a successful medical marijuana law this year.

Indiana’s current medical marijuana program, created under HB 1148, is one of the most restrictive programs in the U.S. Having taken effect July 1, 2017, the law restricts access to low-THC, high CBD cannabis oil to neurologist-certified patients suffering epilepsy who have signed up for the state’s CBD registry.

Prior to approval, patients must first have unsuccessfully tried two traditional pharmaceutical epilepsy treatments. This has prompted some lawmakers and patient advocates in Indiana to call for expanded access to medical marijuana in the state.

State legislators have time to craft new legislation and get it to the governor’s desk before the holiday break. Indiana Senator Jim Tomes, R-Wadesville, plans to file legislation expanding who can possess and use CBD under state law. He said he’s heard from people in the state who’ve enjoyed its nutritional and overall wellness benefits.

“I just don’t understand why is there such a resistance to allow people to get this product here,” Tomes continued. “You can’t abuse it.”

For now, eyes are on Indiana to see how the government there proceeds with crafting its cannabis policy and how it will choose to regulate CBD oil products.

Read the latest about cannabis laws in the U.S. and around the world HERE.