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A look at Indiana’s path to legalizing marijuana

Indiana State Sen. Karen Tallian remembers the moment that sparked her interest in marijuana legislation.

About a decade ago, Tallian represented a teenager right out of high school who was charged with marijuana possession when a party was busted by the police. The teen took a plea deal, complied with its conditions, and walked away with a criminal record. That conviction followed the young woman.

Four years later, she earned her bachelor’s degree and was student teaching.The superintendent, after finding out about the conviction, told the young woman to find a new career.

“She called me in tears. That is so wrong and so unnecessary,” Tallian said. “If that’s one story, I have 15 more. Those kinds of experiences were really what pushed me to say ‘This is a colossal waste of time and we don’t need to be doing this.’”

Indiana is now surrounded by states that have legalized marijuana. Illinois and Michigan have legalized use of marijuana recreationally and Ohio and Kentucky legalized medical use, with Kentucky’s vote just finalized on Feb. 20.

Tallian, D-Ogden Dunes, who has authored, co-authored or supported medical or recreational marijuana legalization and/or decriminalization for around a decade, said Indiana legislators need to face the music. [Read more at Kokoma Tribune]

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