The Status of Cannabis Legalization in Indiana
The Hoosier State is the hardest critic when it comes to legalizing cannabis medicinally or not, making it one of 19 states that simply will not budge when it comes to considering the positive effects of the plant’s properties. While dozens of states have decriminalized cannabis, expunging records and trading arrests for fines, Indiana charges a misdemeanor for possessing small amounts of marijuana.
However, with the introduction of HB 1263, Indiana is closer than ever to legalizing medical cannabis. The legislation would permit the use of medical marijuana by persons with serious medical conditions as determined by their physician while also instituting patient protections.
The IndyStar reports that based on the word of Sen. Karen Tallian, who sponsored three marijuana reform bills, Indiana’s second-largest number of arrests are from marijuana possession, with more than 22,000 convictions in 2018.
“Maybe we’re not putting people in jail in every county,” Tallian told the IndyStar. “But 22,000 arrests is a lot of court time, and a lot of these people will still end up with a criminal record.”
The only progress the Hoosier State has had on cannabis consideration was in 2017 when Gov. Holcomb signed HB 1148, which allowed citizens with epilepsy to consume cannabis oil legally. Without any compassionate care law, which allows for the medical use of cannabis in severe conditions, Indiana denies any form of cannabis except for low-THC CBD derived from industrial hemp.
While Gov. Eric Holcomb refuses to legalize the drug until it is cleared by Congress, in 2018, he signed Senate Enrolled Act 52, permitting any citizens to purchase, possess, or sell CBD oil that does not exceed 0.3% THC and meets all approved labeling regulations.
While cannabis remains a Schedule I drug under the Indiana Criminal Code, the state will continue to penalize anyone for the possession of cannabis. If found with up to 30 grams of cannabis, citizens are charged with an a Class A misdemeanor, which could carry charges including up to one year in jail and a fine of up to $5,000.
If any person, resident or not, possess more than 30 grams, and a prior marijuana conviction, the charge becomes a class D felony, punishable by up to three years in prison, a fine of up to $10,000, or both. If a person is found growing, manufacturing, and distributing cannabis in Indiana, charges are even more strict.
Patient Qualifying Conditions and Cost
The only qualifying condition the Hoosier State considers eligible for low-THC oil is epilepsy. The rejection of all other conditions gives Indiana an F for effort when it comes to its statewide medical cannabis program, based on Americans for Safe Access’s annual national report card.
“Hoosier State lawmakers made no progress in helping Indiana patients secure safe or legal access to cannabis in 2020,” reports the Americans for Safe Access.
The Washington-based group also reports that state officials need to broaden the list of qualifying conditions and delete “arbitrary caps on THC content in cannabis-related medications and organize a fully functional medical cannabis production and sale system for patients to access.”
With no actual program in place, the Hoosier state does not charge annual medical card holder registration fees for the small epipleptic population that uses low-THC oil to treat their condition.
Possession and Cultivation Limits
It is illegal to cultivate or possess any form of medical cannabis in Indiana.
Until medical cannabis is legalized in full, the state of Indiana does not have caregiver requirements for assisting patients with medical cannabis. Those who may assist epileptic patients in administering or applying low-THC oil is a private matter uninterrupted by the government.
Frequently Asked Questions
Until the state legalizes a program, it is not possible to attain a card. But when they do, our team will be available to set you up with a physician who can evaluate your health and confirm your condition.
From start to finish, the medical evaluation takes approximately 10-15 minutes.
Veriheal provides the physicians for you, which is the most difficult part of the process. After meeting with a certified doctor in a virtual video consultation from the comfort of your own home, the doctor will determine your eligibility based on a qualifying condition.
Yes. When a program is in place, a prospective patient must provide proof of residency in Indiana as part of their application for a medical cannabis license.