Indiana Republican State Rep. Jim Lucas is backing medical marijuana as an alternative method to curb the state’s opioid epidemic.
Lucas says medical marijuana could provide people an alternative to addictive opioids, and he combats claims that it is a gateway drug.
“When you look at the opioid epidemic that we’re fighting right now, and it is an epidemic … all of this stems from prescription drugs,” Lucas says. “So if ever there was a gateway drug, it’s prescription opioids.”
Jeff Staker runs the non-profit Hoosier Veterans for Medical Cannabis and is hopeful that Lucas’ proposal will gain momentum and support from other legislators.
He says this situation is unique since legalization bills historically come from Democrat officials.
“I would like to stress on both the House and the Senate side that the GOP take a hold of these bills and get us hearings,” Staker says.
Indiana Attorney General Curtis Hill expressed his opposition to legalizing marijuana in an op-ed statement published earlier this year with the Indy Star, saying lawmakers need to work to curtail drug use, not promote it.
“Simply legalizing ‘marijuana as medicine’ is just a timid way of tiptoeing into waters that conscientious lawmakers know in their hearts should be avoided,” Hill wrote.
Lucas plans to continue researching the proposed alternative and bringing attention to the option.
“I know for a fact that we have an obligation as elected officials to at least research the issue and get the facts out there,” he says.