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Even with the Indiana session winding to a close, there’s always a lot going on with cannabis reform in Indiana. Here are some highlights to keep you updated:

Charly Curtis

Charly Curtis is a 6 year old girl that died this February from having multiple seizures severe in the night. While waiting weeks to cut through the red tape required to get Epidiolex, the first FDA-approved form of CBD (cannabidiol), her parents decided to try THC. They started off their dosage cautiously because they had little guidance and were afraid of getting in trouble with the law, but even with just 1 mg in the morning and 1 mg in the afternoon, Charly’s seizures were reduced drastically. But while her father David was in Colorado to restock on their new medicine, his daughter passed in the night, and now they are taking their story to the airwaves and to elected officials in hopes of having the law changed to make this story different for the thousands of other families experiencing similar scenarios.

When they first came to us with their story, Indiana NORML board member Bill Groth jumped into action helped them get their story in the Indy Star, and since then other news agencies including WISH-TV have picked up their story as well. We also sat down with them recently to give them the opportunity to tell their story in full, without the time constraints of a news segment, and you can watch that important story here. Please consider giving the video a “share” to help spread their story.

Heidi and David Curtis will also be joining us at our annual 4/20 rally in front of the Governor’s Mansion in Indianapolis, the residence provided by the state of Indiana to whomever is serving in the office. Since Governor Holcomb has been one of the leading voices against reform in Indiana, they want to make sure he knows the story of their daughter so that they can help other families facing similar situations to have different options here in Indiana. Even if you can’t make it, you can help us spread the word be clicking the event link above and inviting your friends! Facebook does not allow us to pay promote our events, so we rely on organic reach to promote our events online.

NORML in the News

Indiana NORML Communications Director David Phipps spoke with IndyPolitics editor Abdul-Hakim Shabazz and you can listen to the full interview here.

“It’s obvious that we have the overwhelming support of Hoosiers on the street,” he told IndyPolitics, “but we just can’t get the support of the Republican leadership in the Statehouse on this specific issue.”

“As far as this issue goes, I would have to say it’s all about the silent majority and that’s the reason that our legislators that are opposing this issue in the Statehouse still feel comfortable opposing it,” Phipps explained, discussing why it may be that our leaders in Indiana’s government are failing to take action. “They are under the perception that the majority support is still up in the air and something that they can question, but that is simply because what we see in these polls are people willing to admit that they support it but there is still a stigma out there and there are still a lot of people afraid to admit it, even though they do support it.”

Statehouse Issues

While medical and decriminalization bills are effectively dead this session in Indiana’s General Assembly, that doesn’t mean that legislators aren’t willing to go backwards on cannabis reforms made in previous years. Senate Bill 516, the bill which would allow Indiana to apply to the USDA per the regulations of the new Farm Bill to regulate hemp cultivation in Indiana and which is still actively under consideration, had an amendment added in the Senate that bans the sale and use of smokeable or inhalable hemp products, even those that comply with the requirements of last year’s hemp extract bill, SEA 52.

In addition to making criminals out of ordinary Hoosiers who use inhalable hemp products, the amendment banning such items in Indiana’s hemp bill jeopardizes Indiana’s chance of having Indiana’s application to be a hemp-cultivating state approved by the USDA. The language in the federal Farm Bill states that no state can have a definition of hemp more narrow than the federal definition, and banning hemp flower does just that. This would crush the many Indiana farmers excited about the possibility of having a new crop option and new economic opportunities to revitalize their farms and communities.

This bill currently sits in the House Agriculture and Rural Development Committee. If you would like to write to all the members of this committee at one time, simply copy and paste the following list of email addresses into the “to” form in a new email. Let the committee members know that moving Indiana forward as a hemp-producing state is important for farmers and for the Hoosier economy, but that you want them to remove the amendment added in the Senate banning inhalable forms of hemp before passing the bill on to the House floor.

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Federal Elected Officials Respond to Constituents on Cannabis

United States Representatives Greg Pence (6th District) and Jim Baird (4th District) have begun releasing their form letter responses to constituents in their district. Pence writes that, “I understand that we may disagree on this, but I do not support legalizing marijuana for recreational use. Currently, the marketing effort to decriminalize marijuana is unsubstantiated by scientific research. Both the National Institute of Health and the Food and Drug Administration have yet to approve the substance as safe or effective for any indication.”

Baird, on the other hand, is more aware and potentially open to the need of federal reform, writing, “I understand the importance of clear federal regulations. Given that many states have some form of legalization of marijuana on the books, and given recent research indicating potential medical benefits of certain compounds of marijuana, such as CBD, the current state of federal marijuana law and regulation is vague. Many businesses are unable to use banks and face threats of federal prosecution for financing or selling a product that is legal in their state. Please rest assured that as your representative, I will continue to study this issue and keep your thoughts in mind should marijuana-related legislation come before Congress.

You can read their full responses on our website.

If you have received a response on this topic from federal or state elected officials, please consider forwarding them to us so that we can keep them on file and help publicize their stance.

Business Sponsorship
Over the past few years the Indiana NORML team has managed to do some amazing things with very little funding, but now we’re stepping up our game and we need help from our fellow Hoosiers! If you own a business and would like to sponsor Indiana NORML to help us bring our message to a broader audience, please respond to this email so we can talk!

If you are an individual and would like to help our cause, you can become a memberpurchase merchandise, or donate. We have the people and the passion, but we need funding to help bring our message to a wider audience and outmaneuver the influential behemoths like the Indiana Prosecuting Attorneys Council and the Indiana Chamber of Commerce, both of whom are fighting this reform tooth and nail.

Thank you all for reading and being involved in the cannabis reform movement in Indiana, and we hope to see you at our 4/20 Rally at the Governor’s Mansion.