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State Lawmakers Consider Medical Marijuana For First Time

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The chambers of the Indiana House were full for testimony on medical cannabis. (Jill Sheridan/IPB News)

For the first time, Hoosier lawmakers considered medical marijuana in a study committee. The committee heard several hours of testimony at the Statehouse.

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.

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

A number of physicians testified that cannabis is a 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," Gogek says. 

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. 

Last session Indiana lawmakers approved the use of CBD.  

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

The committee could not come to a consensus and did not make any recommendations. 

Want to contact your legislators about an issue that matters to you? Find out how to contact your senators and member of Congress here.

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