Updated Feb. 8 at 9:35 a.m.
Despite about a dozen bills at the Statehouse this legislative session, the push to legalize cannabis in Indiana continues to struggle for a foothold.
Katie Wiley is the chief legal officer for Stash Ventures, a company lobbying for cannabis legalization. She said taking action at the state level before federal legalization has benefits.
“If Indiana waits to act until federal legalization, we miss out on a lot of high opportunities for the state. So high paying jobs, sophisticated degrees, university involvement,” Wiley said.
Wiley said there is still reluctance among some lawmakers to discuss legalization.
“I honestly think it's a mystifying industry. It seems scary. It appears there might be social or economic impacts that have been unstudied. And I understand those arguments. I think that that's fair,” Wiley said. “We've been able to demonstrate to many legislators that we've met with that it is not this dark alley industry. It is a very sophisticated, highly industrial process.”
Regulators in Indiana agreed last year that more research on the potential health benefits and decriminalization of cannabis is required before taking any legislative action.
Indiana is one of 13 states that has not legalized marijuana for medicinal or adult recreational use.
Meanwhile, Gov. Eric Holcomb has said he opposes legalization in any form, including medical. He added if federal law changed, he would look at the pros and cons.
Wiley says it is unlikely that there will be action taken on cannabis legalization this session. But she says she expects conversations with Indiana lawmakers to continue.
A Pew Research survey showed that 59 percent of U.S. adults believe marijuana should be legal for medical and recreational use by adults.
Correction: A previous version of this story said Indiana is one of 12 states with no legislation related to cannabis. It has been corrected and clarified to say Indiana is one of 13 states that has not legalized marijuana for medicinal or adult recreational use.