There’s perhaps no more well-known elected official in Indiana with respect to cannabis reform than State Senator Karen Tallian (D-19), even for those only marginally following the issue. Senator Tallian has been introducing cannabis legislation in the Statehouse for years, although with a majority party unwilling to seriously entertain her bills by giving them hearings in committee, her efforts haven’t resulted in the reforms she would like to see.
After over a decade in the Senate, Tallian announced today that she will be seeking the office of Attorney General for the state of Indiana, a position currently held by Curtis Hill.
“Curtis Hill has not been an advocate for Indiana citizens,” Tallian claims in her press release, “and he has not brought integrity and reason to this office.”
Curtis Hill is no fan of legal cannabis. In 2017 Hill penned an op-ed arguing that, “Legalizing marijuana is a road to nowhere good,” and complaining that Colorado had more “dope” businesses than Starbucks and McDonalds combined. He reiterated his opposition later that same year when he released his official interpretation on the legal status of hemp extract products in Indiana, writing, “As for my personal views, I have long opposed legalizing marijuana, which, to put in bluntly, makes people do stupid things. By contrast, CBD oil itself produces no similar impairment – and I hope it ultimately delivers on the promise advocates say it holds out to people suffering from physical maladies.”
Tallian’s press release doesn’t omit mention of her work on cannabis. In a bio portion it notes that, “She is well known as the first legislator to call for reform of marijuana laws. She has for years persistently offered bills to decriminalize marijuana possession and to allow for the use of medical marijuana.”
Tallian is the first Democrat to announce her candidacy, while Hill faces primary challenger John Westercamp. The Libertarian Party of Indiana will nominate any contenders by convention in early 2020.