INDIANAPOLIS–Marijuana is not legal in Indiana, but it should be, says Jonathan Weinzapfel, Democrat candidate for state attorney general. Weinzapfel said in a Friday news conference that he believes legalizing recreation cannabis could help state government solve budget problems and that state lawmakers should make what he calls a “common sense” decision.
“After discussions with a lot of folks throughout the state it seems to me that the time has come for Indiana to go ahead and legalize marijuana for recreational purposes,” said Weinzapfel. “We think in the middle of this global pandemic that this is really something Indiana needs to step up and do.”
LISTEN: Weinzapfel and Mears discuss legalizing marijuana.
Weinzapfel estimated that legal sales of marijuana could generate $171 million per year in tax revenue.
He said that could go to cover budget shortfalls caused by the pandemic, and could possibly make a pot for other needs like schools and raises for teachers, and criminal justice reforms.
“Everything from body cams to enhanced police training-one of the objections or concerns is, how are we gonna pay for this? Frankly this is a perfect means by which we can do that.”
Weinzapfel brought his friend Ryan Mears, Marion County prosecutor, whose office decided to stop prosecuting people for simple possession. He said racial injustice and inequity is one of the reasons.
“We saw the disproportionate impact these marijuana arrests and ultimate criminal prosecutions had on people of color,” said Mears. “We need to treat people like adults. If someone wants to smoke a joint on their back porch, I don’t think that necessarily involves the criminal justice system or the prosecutor’s office or the attorney general’s office.”
Mears said he supports Weinzapfel’s position. But, neither man can make marijuana legal. If elected attorney general, Weinzapfel could advise state lawmakers on the legalities of legalizing marijuana.
Gov. Holcomb has said he is unwilling to try and make legal in the state what is illegal federally.