Indiana medical marijuana is very limited at this point with epileptic patients being able to access cannabidiol, the non euphoric compound in cannabis. Medical cannabis advocates though are hoping that the question to expand medical marijuana laws in Indiana may be on the ballot in 2019.
There are many states that are looking to be added to the long list in the United States that have legalized medical marijuana. Do you think there is a possibility that all 50 states would legalize medical marijuana before the federal government decides to change its position?
For a group of medical cannabis advocates, Saturday was about educating the public so they could, in turn, educate their state lawmakers.
At the Indiana Medical Cannabis Town Hall Meeting, lawmakers, professors, veterans and other medical marijuana advocates came together at the Indiana State Library.
They spoke to a room full of people who, judging from the amount of clapping for speakers and the pro-medical cannabis agenda, were largely supporters. During the three-plus-hour town hall, which was hosted by Indiana NORML, attendance ranged from about 60 to 200 as people came and went.
In the fight to expand the use of medical cannabis, advocates wanted to explain scientific studies and personal stories behind why they believe it should be a legitimate choice. Advocate and emcee David Phipps, Rep. Sue Errington (D-Muncie) and Rep. Jim Lucas (R-Seymour) cast the issue as a moral and nonpartisan one.
“Today, it’s an important event,” Phipps said. “More than anything, we need to get it across to those legislators who are dead set against this for the state of Indiana. We need to make sure they are aware of the facts behind it and not the propaganda that they’ve been fed for far too long by some within the statehouse.”
Medical cannabis advocates had a small victory in April when a bill passed that allows for epilepsy patients who have struggled with prescription drugs to use cannabidiol to treat their condition. But their goal has been to expand that to give people an alternative to opioids and other prescription drugs, Phipps said.
“We are realistically looking at full medical cannabis potentially as soon as 2019 and adding to the existing bill this coming assembly,” Phipps said.
To that end, Errington said she was working on an in-depth bill that allows for the safe, accessible use of medical cannabis for a large variety of conditions. Lucas said he began supporting the issue after Indiana State excise police raided a Fresh Thyme and took products containing CBD oil.
“I look forward to this fight,” Lucas said. “I love a good fight.”
Medical cannabis advocates said they believe spreading findings from scientific studies is key to changing minds. Former State Representative Tom Knollman, who served as a Republican, said he became an advocate after struggling with primary progressive multiple sclerosis.