Cannabis justice scale

With the conclusion of the Indiana Democrat Party state convention, the 2018 platforms are now available for all active political parties in Indiana. So will the official party positions on cannabis be a reason for Hoosiers to party? That’s up to you, but here’s the scoop…

On June 16th, the Indiana Democrat Party voted on final version of their 2018 platform, and it included two statements about cannabis. “We will work with law enforcement agencies, health care groups and other stakeholders to legalize medical marijuana and decriminalize the possession of small amounts of marijuana. Indiana Democrats believe that Hoosiers should have the right to vote on the regulation and taxation of marijuana.” This represents a dramatic shift from their 2016 platform position, which simply stated that they would like to study the use of medical marijuana and the penalties for its possession. “Public input drove our platform process,” remarked Democrat Party Chairman John Zody, “and ultimately we believe Hoosier voters should have the right to vote on the regulation and taxation of marijuana.”

The Indiana Republican Party held their convention on June 8th and 9th in Evansville, although their 2018 platform contained no references to cannabis. While the Republicans at large opted not to make any party-wide commitments to cannabis reform in Indiana, some elected Republicans are enthusiastic about the issue. “The more I have educated myself about cannabis, I have become 100% convinced that making it available to the countless number of Hoosiers that could benefit from it is not only the right thing to do, it is the moral thing to do,” said Republican state representative Jim Lucas. “I will be doing everything in my power to combat the ignorance and stigma that has unjustly been applied to cannabis and bring truth, facts, reason and logic to this very important issue.” Republican Party Chair Kyle Hupfer and Vice Chair Leah McGrath did not respond to a request for comments.

The Libertarian Party of Indiana website lists the basic Libertarian stance: “End the failed ‘War on Drugs’ and legalize marijuana”. In a conversation with Libertarian Party Chairman Tim Maguire, a more detailed description of how Indiana Libertarians view the issue emerged. “We here at LPIN agree that individuals should be free to make choices for their own lives, including the use of cannabis, so long as their choices do not violate the rights of others,” he told us. “We also agree that medical decisions should be left to be made between a patient and their doctor, only allowing government intervention in cases of force or fraud. And from that practical standpoint, we cannot afford to continue to fill our courts and our jails with individuals who have done no actual harm to anyone else, not to mention the havoc that the policing action of these drug policies wreck on our community at large.”

The Green Party of Indiana aligns its platform with the national Green Party, which contains numerous references to cannabis. The section titled, “End the War on Drugs” contains the following items specifically pertaining to cannabis: “Legalize possession, sale, and cultivation of cannabis/marijuana . . . Strike from the record prior felony convictions for marijuana possession, sale, or cultivation . . . Grant amnesty and release from confinement without any further parole or probation, those who have been incarcerated for the use, sale, or cultivation of marijuana in federal and state prisons and in county/city jail. . .” Amanda Shepard, Chair of the Indiana Green Party, said that, “We in the Indiana Green Party believe that the War on Drugs has been an immense failure and has only led to increased violence against – and incarceration of – those who would otherwise peacefully partake of a substance that has been shown in multiple studies to have no more long-term harmful health impacts (and, in fact, likely many less impacts) than legalized substances like alcohol and nicotine. For this reason – and many others – we are in full support of the legalization of cannabis in all its forms as well as the release of all those who have been incarcerated due to the use and/or possession or sale of such substances.”

“It’s time for Indiana to legalize medical marijuana so doctors have freedom to prescribe it to patients suffering from chronic pain, or to help them deal with the side effects of chemotherapy and other treatment,” added George Wolfe, Green Party candidate for Secretary of State in Indiana. “As the Secretary of State, through the business division in that office, I would push for the legalization of marijuana to develop business opportunities in the State of Indiana which would subsequently increase community and state tax revenue.”