Medical marijuana goes to interim study committee

By Emily Ketterer
TheStatehouseFile.com

INDIANAPOLIS—The Indiana House unanimously passed a resolution that would have an interim legislative study committee take up the issue of medical marijuana.

The committee, which would meet later next summer or fall, will explore whether there are medical benefits to the use of marijuana, which is currently classified as a Schedule I drug by the federal Drug Enforcement Administration.

The resolution also urges that marijuana be reclassified as a Schedule II drug, which says that although the drug has a high potential for abuse, there are medical uses. Marijuana is currently in the same class as LSD and heroin while drugs like cocaine and methamphetamines are Schedule II drugs.

Rep. Jim Lucas, R- Seymour, compared the danger of marijuana to alcohol during the debate on HR 2. Photo by Andrew Longstreth, TheStatehousaeFile.com

“Under a Schedule I drug, it says there are no medical benefits and it is highly addictive. It is very difficult to do deep scientific studies,” said author of the resolution, Rep. Matt Lehman, R-Berne.

Lehman said they are asking the study committee to look at what medical benefits come from marijuana and to find a delivery method other than inhalation and ingestion.

Rep. Jim Lucas, R-Seymour, co-authored the resolution and addressed the negative stigma surrounding marijuana. He presented physical examples of aspirin, cigarettes and alcohol, which he said are all substances that can have negative effects, but can still be purchased.

“Hey, it’s not the boogie man. The horror stories we are hearing aren’t true,” Lucas said.

Lucas and others who spoke noted that medical marijuana can help veterans with post-traumatic stress syndrome.

“There are veterans out there who want to see this. Twenty-two veterans every day take their lives because of PTSD, depression, anxiety,” Lucas said. “What do we do? We prescribe them drugs that may cause suicide. That’s insane.”

House Speaker Brian Bosma, R-Indianapolis, said the resolution to study medical marijuana doesn’t necessarily mean it will pass in the future.

“I think we just need to know a lot more about it before we do anything and my mind can be changed,” Bosma said.

Lehman said that just because medical marijuana is going to a study committee, that doesn’t mean they will never hear from it again.

“I think this is something that all Hoosiers have said, ‘it’s time to move forward,’” Lehman said.

Emily Ketterer is a reporter for TheStatehouseFile.com, a news website powered by Franklin College journalism students.

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