FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) — An Indiana lawmaker says the state needs to act in the wake of Ohio’s approval of Issue 2, which legalizes the use of recreational marijuana.
House Democratic Leader Phil GiaQuinta of Fort Wayne believes there are benefits to the General Assembly taking action to make marijuana legal.
“A growing number of Hoosiers are crossing the Illinois and Michigan border to buy marijuana. With today’s vote by Ohioans, Hoosiers will soon visit Ohio to buy it as well. Indiana is missing out on jobs, tax revenue and economic development. How will Hoosier growers and small businesses compete in this growing market if Indiana does not legalize cannabis soon?” GiaQuinta is quoted as saying in a news release sent out following the passage of Issue 2.
Last week, a legislative committee discussion ended in gridlock over how Indiana should regulate marijuana.
After nearly seven hours of testimony and debate, the committee couldn’t agree on any recommendations for the General Assembly.
”We just couldn’t gain consensus on this, so there are no current recommendations on the table,” said State Sen. Scott Baldwin, who serves as the chairman of the Commerce and Economic Development Interim Study Committee.
Republicans, who control the state legislature, said they’re concerned more research needs to be done on how marijuana use impairs young people, drivers, and the workforce.
GiaQuinta added to his argument by citing a Ball State survey that indicated a clear majority of Indiana residents are in favor of legalizing pot in some form.
“In 2022, Michigan collected $325 million from marijuana sales, which they’ve used to fund roads and public education. By not legalizing marijuana, we’re paying for Michigan’s public schools and roads when we could be funding our own. Let’s get with the 85% of Hoosiers who support legalizing recreational or medical marijuana and jumpstart this economic development opportunity for our state.”