Indiana lawmakers study legalizing medical marijuana

INDIANA (FOX19) - Indiana lawmakers are set to begin studying whether they should amend its drug laws and decriminalize marijuana, or create a medical marijuana program.

Indiana State Representative Tom Knollman, a Republican from Union County, has gotten used to a life of prescription medications and motorized scooters since he was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis.

Now the lawmaker is weighing in on the debate over whether marijuana use should be legalized in the Hoosier state.  He says the chronic pain associated with his condition, for which there is no cure, might be lessened by the use of medical marijuana.

He gets emails almost every day from others in his state who suffer from not only M.S. but other conditions which are chronic and painful, and the request is the same from them all.  They want to be able to use the drug lawfully, to alleviate their pain.

Rep. Knollman has not decided if he would supporting the legalization of pot for the public.

State Senator Karen Tallian, a Democrat from Portage, says the court system is being bogged down with cases of minor marijuana offenses, and jail space would be freed up if the drug was made legal.  Some law enforcement officials we spoke to say they have some reservations about that potential change in the state's drug law.

A General Assembly committee will study different angles of the marijuana issue. Thirteen states have eliminated certain penalties for small amounts of marijuana.

Medical marijuana is legal in 16 states and the District of Columbia.

Copyright 2011 FOX19. All Rights Reserved