Indiana Veterans Push For 2017 Medical Cannabis Law

Hoosier Veterans For Medical Marijuana

Indiana is just one of a few states — a list that includes South Dakota, Kansas, Nebraska and West Virginia — that prohibit all forms of medicinal cannabis. Twenty-eight states and D.C. offer comprehensive medical cannabis programs while 15 others allow people with certain conditions to use a form of the plant low in THC, the compound that produces the high, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.  Indiana is also now a state whose neighboring states all have legalized medical cannabis (Ohio, Michigan & Illinois) or have low-THC/high-CBD limited access (Kentucky).

Leading the charge for medical cannabis in Indiana is the group, Hoosier Veterans for Medical Cannabis. Jeff Stater, a former Marine, told me in our interview this morning of how access to medical cannabis means life or death for many veterans and residents across Indiana. Staker is the founder of Hoosier Veterans for Medical Cannabis. The Kokomo, Indiana veteran hopes pressure from the state’s American Legion will continue to push lawmakers to create a statewide medical cannabis program. The mission of HVMC is: To inform, educate, lobby, support and maintain legislations for the “legal” Medical use of Cannabis within the State of Indiana. In addition, when they have fought and won for the legalization of Medical Cannabis, HVMC will work with our legislators to continuously review, revise and update legislation as may be necessary from time to time. (i.e. recognizing residents from out of State that are Medical Cannabis patients …and so forth.)

Within the US one person every 20 minutes dies of either an accidental and or intentional overdose to prescription pain medication. Doing the math that’s 3 every hour, 72 a day and so forth. It has been reported that our Veterans are overdosing at twice the rate of civilians….in other words 2 of the 3 causalities within the above hour time frame are Veterans. This shouldn’t be, nor does it have too, especially within in the State of Indiana. Hoosier Veterans for Medical Cannabis have also raised the valid point, of the fact that the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Health Administration has now recognized medical cannabis use by patients, and allows VA physicians to advise and monitor patients who use cannabis in states where it is legal. It also states that cannabis reportedly doesn’t have the adverse side effects of other drugs often prescribed to veteran patients with chronic illnesses or debilitating conditions.

“Legislators listen to veterans,” said Jeff Staker, the veteran responsible for introducing the resolution. “We’ve got to get their attention, and who better to do that than veterans?”

His organization put out this 15-second ad across television stations ahead of the legislative session starting.

Democratic Senator Karen Tallian recently submitted a measure to the Indiana General Assembly, which seeks for the creation of a statewide medical cannabis program. The Senators proposal (Senate Bill 255) would be her sixth attempt and would allow patients with a variety of health conditions, including migraines and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), to have access to cannabis as long as they have a recommendation from a licensed physician. It would also give patients suffering from “any persistent or chronic illness or condition” to access the program so long as a doctor believes cannabis could provide some benefit.

Sen. James Tomes and Sen. Blake Doriot have authored a Hemp Bill, Senate Bill 15 that calls for a Hemp oil registry for the treatment of epilepsy. Establishing a hemp oil registry for certain physicians, individuals, and caregivers for the use of hemp oil in the treatment of a child with intractable epilepsy. And to create a pilot study registry for physicians who want to study the use of hemp oil in the treatment of intractable epilepsy. The bill requires the state department of health (state department) to develop and maintain both registries.

House Bill 1148 in the Indiana General Assembly aims to better define cannabidiol in the state and provides an affirmative defense to possession of CBD if the person or the person’s child has been diagnosed with certain medical conditions, the cannabidiol contains no THC, and other specified conditions are met.

Statewide polling in Indiana for the support of medical cannabis, by two different polls are both over 70% in favor.  Deanna Allbrittin of FOX59, of Indianapolis, ask the question on twitter with 75% in favor and 14% opposed. And a recent WTHR Howey Politics Indiana Poll shows 73 % of Indiana residents believe cannabis should be legalized throughout the state for medicinal purposes.
Sen. Tallian could receive some influential support this state’s legislative session from the American Legion Department of Indiana. The organization is set to vote on a resolution aimed at persuading the State Legislature to finally give medical cannabis some consideration. Hoosier Veterans for Medical Cannabis needs your support in getting this done in 2017.  Whether you’re an Indiana native who is a veteran or a civilian – you can get involved in a number of ways.

Jason Barker
About Jason Barker 35 Articles

• New Mexico medical cannabis patient and activist
• Grass roots organizer with LECUA Patients Coalition of New Mexico
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