State Senator Karen Tallian (D-Portage) has introduced a bill that would decriminalize marijuana in the state of Indiana. SB 580 has been assigned to the Committee on Corrections and Criminal Law and would lessen the penalties for possessing small amounts of marijuana. Following extensive testimony and review during a 2011 study committee, the proposal’s goal is to reduce criminal penalties for personal possession of small amounts of marijuana. The impact could also mean less state and local criminal justice resources spent on marijuana-related arrests, prosecution and sentences.
The bill would make possession of less than two ounces of marijuana a Class C infraction, decriminalizing the possession. If a person possesses more than two ounces or has two or more prior marijuana convictions in the past five years, the person may be charged criminally, although, the penalties are reduced from current criminal statute. The also bill specifies penalties for driving while under the influence of marijuana and authorizes the licensed cultivation and production of industrial hemp.