Marijuana bill’s chances go up in smoke
BY SUZANNAH COUCH Post-Tribune correspondent February 5, 2014 11:26AM
Updated: March 7, 2014 11:49AM
A bill to soften penalties for marijuana possession in Indiana isn’t going anywhere this year in the General Assembly.
The bill was not reviewed by the Committee on Corrections and Criminal Law due to a filing issue, a staffer from Sen. R. Michael Young’s office, R- Indianapolis, said. Young is chairman of the committee.
Typically, before any bill can be voted on by the full House or Senate, it must go through a committee.
Senate Bill 314 would decriminalize marijuana in Indiana by making possession of less than two ounces of marijuana a Class C infraction and possession of more than two ounces a Class B misdemeanor. The offense would be a Class A misdemeanor if the person has two or more prior convictions involving marijuana in the past five years.
Sen. Karen Tallian, D-Portage, is the author of the bill. Tallian said she spoke many times with Young about having the committee review the bill.
A staffer from Young’s office said the bill was not reviewed by the committee because the bill was not filed in time.
She said she spoke with Young last summer, November and December. She did not have the bill literally in her hand when she spoke with Young, but she said Young knew about her requests for a hearing.
“They’re using that as an excuse because they didn’t want to do it,” Tallian said.
Young suggested Tallian make her bill an amendment to the industrial hemp bill, or Senate Bill 357. That bill would authorize the department of agriculture to license the cultivation and production of industrial hemp in Indiana.
Tallian said that’s not an option.
“This deserves a hearing,” Tallian said about her bill. “I am going to file it every year until I get one.”