NewsPublic Affairs / June 7, 2017

Marijuana Access Advocates Weigh Paths Forward In Indiana

They say Hoosiers can contribute to booming marijuana business in other states, and that new Indiana vaping and THC oil laws could be gateway regulations.marijuana, medicinal cannabis, medical marijuana, Marijuana Business Association, Hoosier Veterans for Medical Cannabis, THC oil2017-06-07T00:00:00-04:00
Article origination IPBS-RJC
Marijuana Access Advocates Weigh Paths Forward In Indiana

Marijuana Business Association founder Dave Rheins speaks at the Antelope Club in Indianapolis Tuesday.

Annie Ropeik/IPB


Indiana may not join the next wave of states that legalize medical or recreational marijuana, but it doesn’t mean Hoosiers can’t partake in the booming business.

That was the message from national Marijuana Business Association founder Dave Rheins at a forum in Indianapolis Tuesday night.

In a cigar smoke-filled room at a downtown social club, he told a small crowd other states’ up-start marijuana sectors need lawyers, marketers, investors and agritech experts to get involved.

“You do not have to be a farmer to be a part of the cannabis and hemp revolution. … You do not have to touch the plant,” he says. “These small and medium businesses, they need money, but they need, more than that, your experience as professionals.”

Rheins also says Indiana’s vaping regulations and legalization of THC oil for seizure patients could be gateways to legalization in this state. Opponents of marijuana access say that’s not true.

For people like Jeff Staker, the issue is one of life and death. Staker founded the nonprofit Hoosier Veterans for Medical Cannabis. He says medical marijuana would reduce opioid abuse and overdoses among ailing military veterans like him.

“Because if we don’t do anything, each day, more veterans are gonna die,” Staker says. “And obviously – civilians are dying too. But who’s that voice that our politicians seem to be listening to, or who gets their attention? Unfortunately, it’s us veterans.”

Staker says he invited Indiana Attorney General Curtis Hill to speak at Tuesday’s forum, but Hill declined. The AG recently penned an op-ed in the Indy Star to warn against medical marijuana legalization.



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