Jim Lucas: "Anyone who says cannabis is a gateway drug is wrong."
SEYMOUR, Ind. -- With Indiana's neighbor to the north, Michigan, legalizing medicinal marijuana via referendum during Tuesday's election, 32 states have now legalized medical pot.
State Representative Jim Lucas, a Republican from Seymour, says with over half the states in the U.S. having now legalized medical marijuana, it's only a matter of time before it happens in Indiana.
"Prohibition doesn't work and cannabis doesn't killed people," said Lucas. "We're at 32 states that have legalized it. Not one state has rescinded it. They've all expanded their programs. Some have even leaped into recreational cannabis, because the horror stories simply aren't there."
Lucas has been spearheading the effort to legalize medical marijuana and even recreational marijuana in Indiana. His support for the effort grew after he took a research trip to Colorado where all forms of marijuana are legal.
David Powell, executive director of the Indiana Prosecuting Attorneys Council, said Thursday it opposes legalizing recreational and medical marijuana. He said in part that "there is no proven correlation between marijuana use and decrease in opioid use as some suggest and some studies have shown that the use of marijuana, especially at a young age, increases the likelihood of someone abusing other drugs."
"I think they're wrong. Again, they're wrong," Lucas retorted. "Cannabis is illegal right now. I know they like to refer to it as a 'gateway drug', but if we're having the opioid problems that we are right now with cannabis being illegal, the gateway drug theory simply doesn't play out."
Lucas met with Governor Eric Holcomb Thursday and the subject of medical pot was mentioned. Holcomb is withholding judgement on the issue, awaiting more information on medical cannabis to become available.
Lucas said the Governor is right to hold out in order to make the best decision he can.
"Governor Holcomb is a smart man," Lucas said. "He hold his card close to his chest and I think he wants to get all the information he can."
Lucas is planning to make another trip to Colorado soon before the 2019 legislative sessions begins.
*WISH-TV contributed to this article*
(PHOTO: Ethan Miller/Getty Images)