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Medical Marijuana Considered By Legislative Committee

By Jill Sheridan, IPB News | Published on in Government, Health, Politics, Statewide News
The chambers of the Indiana House were full for testimony on medical cannabis. (Jill Sheridan/IPB News)
The chambers of the Indiana House were full for testimony on medical cannabis. (Jill Sheridan/IPB News)

An Indiana legislative study committee is considering the future of medical marijuana in the state for the first time. It is already possible to buy marijuana online in other parts of the country. Thirty-one states permit medical marijuana, and last session, Hoosier lawmakers approved the use of CBD, a cannabis extract. As Indiana Public Broadcasting’s Jill Sheridan reports, the committee will consider the hours of testimony it heard at the Statehouse Thursday.

Physicians were among those testifying both for and against medical marijuana. Dr. Andrew Greenspan says many of the cancer patients he treats question why Hoosiers don’t have access to medical marijuana. There were many medical marijuana doctors present who were arguing for the use of medical marijuana due to the fantastic benefits it can bring to conditions such as epilepsy. In states like Illinois for example, patients who have a medical card il are entitled to use marijuana for medicinal purposes.

“Thirty-one states including our neighbors in Illinois and Michigan have medical cannabis laws based on hundreds of physician supported clinical trials,” says Greenspan.

A number of physicians testified that cannabis is a much better for chronic pain than opioids. But psychiatrist Ed Gogek says that’s not what he’s experienced.

“I want to make it very clear, marijuana does not help opioid addicts,” says Gogek.

Much research has been done outside of the U.S. because of federal restrictions. Many of the studies point to cannabis as a safe and effective treatment for numerous conditions.

Sen. Karen Tallian (D-Portage) has proposed cannabis related legislation for years and says it’s time for Indiana to catch up.

“We need to create in Indiana, a regulatory agency for cannabis and we need to do it now,” says Tallian.

Others that spoke against the issue include the Indiana Prosecutors, the Chamber of Commerce and drug-free groups.