With Josh Owens having recently announced his campaign for governor within the Democratic primary, many have wondered about his full stance on cannabis reform for Indiana after initial news articles mentioned decriminalization being part of his platform. While we look forward to more in-depth conversations with him and the other candidates as the election progresses, here are his responses to a few basic questions about how he would treat cannabis in Indiana.
Do you believe that cannabis should be decriminalized in Indiana? If so, please explain the details of the type of cannabis legislation you would support.
“I do think the cannabis should be decriminalized and that we should have legal sales of cannabis with regulation similar to tobacco in Indiana. We have been slow to act compared with other states, despite the fact that cannabis has been shown to be an effective treatment for some medical conditions and that we could use the tax dollars generated from public sales and production to fund targeted health care programming aimed at lowering the cost of care for Hoosiers in need. I think it’s an obvious policy we should adopt as a state.”
Do you believe that Indiana should enact a program for the lawful use of cannabis by individuals with medical conditions that could potentially be improved by cannabis?
“Yes, and we should do so quickly. It is important for medical professionals to have all proven options available for treating their patients, and it is important for Hoosiers to have options here at home that are otherwise readily available in other states.”
Do you believe that Indiana should legalize recreational cannabis for use by adults?
“Yes. This will allow us to regulate the usage of cannabis, but also use tax dollars generated to put towards targeted programs in our state. Our current laws are behind the times and continue to hurt communities disproportionately.”
How do you feel about measures to address the harms of cannabis arrests that have already happened? For example, expunging criminal records and/or commuting sentences.
“Enforcement of laws on marijuana possession have always been one sided and disproportionately affected minority communities. I would push for expunging criminal records and commuting sentences related to marijuana possession, so long as there were no other circumstances and it was a non-violence drug related arrest. It is the right thing to do and the moral thing to do. Our laws should reflect that now, into the future, and address the injustices that have happened in the past.”