The use of marijuana has become more socially acceptable in recent years. Seven states and the District of Columbia have passed laws to legalize the recreational use of marijuana, while another 22 states currently allow the use of cannabis for medical purposes. While this cultural shift might make you feel more comfortable using marijuana medicinally or recreationally, keep in mind the possession of marijuana for any reason is illegal in Indiana.
The possession of up to 30 grams of marijuana in Indiana is often called simple possession, and is classified as a Class A misdemeanor. You could face up to a year in jail and a fine as high as $5,000. For a first offense, a judge may grant you a conditional discharge. The judge’s requirements for a conditional discharge may include probation, a fine, or community service.
If you are caught with more than 30 grams of marijuana, the consequences are more severe. This Class D felony carries a jail sentence of six months to three years and a fine up to $10,000. Possessing a large amount of marijuana may also lead to additional serious charges, such as intent to sell or intent to distribute. If you have been charged with a marijuana related crime, it is important to reach out to a criminal defense attorney for help.
Republican State Representative Jim Lucas has publicly stated his intentions to bring a bill legalizing medical marijuana to the House floor. Medical marijuana bills are frequently introduced by Democrat lawmakers, but have failed to gain traction with the Republican majority in the General Assembly. Lucas is cautiously optimistic he can convince his fellow Republicans to support what he sees as pain management solution that is safer than addictive prescription opioids.
Representative Lucas is still working out the details of his bill, so it is too early to tell how he plans to approach the decriminalization or legalization of medical cannabis in Indiana. Many medical marijuana advocates are pushing for a comprehensive legalization bill, which would establish a framework for the sale and distribution of cannabis products for medical use. A more conservative approach would be to simply remove the criminal penalties associated with medical cannabis (decriminalization) without granting full legalization for the sale and distribution of the products. This baby-steps strategy has precedent in Indiana. Last April, lawmakers decriminalized the use of cannabidiol (also known as CBD oil) for epilepsy patients, but refrained from legislating issues regarding its manufacturing, sale, or distribution.
If you are accused of a marijuana or drug-related crime, contact the Bellinger Law Firm in Fort Wayne, Indiana. We are eager to assist you throughout each step of your case.
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