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GOP Representative Pushes For Medical Marijuana

Rep. Jim Lucas prepares to write a bill to legalize medical marijuana for 2018

INDIANAPOLIS -- Republican Rep. Jim Lucas hasn't started writing his bill to legalize medical marijuana for the 2018 general assembly yet. But, he doesn't see it as legalizing it. He sees it more as decriminalizing it. Atty. Gen. Curtis Hill, also a Republican, sees it as nothing more than "smoking pot".

Both men have publicly expressed their views on the matter, and continue to have opposing viewpoints.

"Much of the substance abuse that we have in what most people would consider harsh drugs, or drugs in which you have more dangers, most of them get their start with marijuana," said Hill this week on Tony Katz Today.

He makes a decades-old argument that many consider valid, including some people who have become addicted to hard drugs. Hill said he believes that giving pot the moniker "medical marijuana" will change the way people view the drug as being more harmless, and he believes that is harmful.

"I'm very concerned about the nonchalant, almost cavalier attitude that putting the word medical in front of marijuana, somehow magically makes this anything more than smoking pot," said Hill.

Lucas, a guest on the same show, said he's still doing his research on the bill, but that he's talked to enough people who have benefited, and enough medical professionals, that he is convinced conventional Hoosier wisdom on the matter should change.

"If you could just be intellectually honest with yourself, and set the stigma aside, and start researching this-the benefits of this drug, this plant, are just countless," he said. Lucas believes obesity, cancer and opioid overdoses could be helped by decriminalizing pot for medical use.

Hill said he believes any notion that pot could be an answer to opioid addiction is laughable.

"The same people who suggest marijuana is not that bad would suggest that smoking marijuana would depreciate the dependency on a substance that's a nightmare," said Hill.

For Lucas there are still several months of research ahead getting ready to present his bill to decriminalize to the legislature. It's a move that even pro-medical pot lobbyists admit they believe might take a couple of years to actually pass.

"With that many states out there having this, obviously mistakes have been made," said Lucas on writing the bill. "It doesn't make sense for us to start off where some other state has started off and found out didn't work." 

PHOTO: RTV6

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