The dominoes are falling for marijuana legalization in the United States, and there may be no stopping it at this point. After Massachusetts legalized marijuana, it seemed likely that the rest of the east coast would likely start legalizing, and now New Jersey may have recreational marijuana next year. Indiana medical marijuana is likely to be coming soon now too.
It is not necessarily a matter of politicians listening to the resounding approval of legalized marijuana from their voters, it may have a lot more to do with business. Indiana is likely to allow medical marijuana soon, if for no other reason, just to try and keep its residents in-state instead of moving to neighboring states that have medical marijuana programs.
A fight over whether Indiana should legalize medical marijuana seems all but inevitable now. The pressure is growing: Indiana is surrounded by three states (Illinois, Michigan and Ohio) that have in recent years allowed medical marijuana, joining a growing chorus of more than two dozen states-increasingly Republican, conservative ones-that have legalized marijuana consumption in some fashion. Rapidly shifting public opinion also has gone the way of supporters, with 73 percent of Hoosiers saying in a WTHR/Howey Politics Indiana poll last year that they support medical marijuana, including 57 percent of those 65 and up, and 59 percent of Republicans.
And now the issue has more influential backers here in Indiana, including veterans groups, and a determined Republican. Rep. Jim Lucas of Seymour, who said he will file a bill to legalize medical marijuana when the General Assembly session kicks off in January, said “everybody’s shocked by how quickly it has become a positive issue.” Still, top state leaders remain resistant to what supporters say is a near certainty. Gov. Eric Holcomb said, “I’m not there yet” when it comes to backing the effort. He said supporters should “redirect their efforts and focus those supporters of medical marijuana to the FDA.” “That’s the way the system should work,” he said. “I think that the FDA, that approves all medical drugs, should be the entity that approves this once and for all-or not.” He said he’s “encouraged” to see U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams, the state’s former health commissioner, say medical marijuana is worthy of research.
Money may be the real reason why the United States eventually elects to legalize marijuana nationally, not that prohibition of marijuana is ridiculous. Exactly how much money does the marijuana industry have to represent before the leverage tips the entire country towards legalization?