Indiana prosecutors vehemently oppose medical marijuana

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Indiana’s county prosecutors remain vehemently opposed to any form of marijuana legalization and insist the plant “is not medicine” amid a push by a conservative state lawmaker to have it recognized as such.

In a letter to Republican Gov. Eric Holcomb’s administration, the Association of Indiana Prosecuting Attorneys argues any type of marijuana legalization would come with grave consequences. The letter, dated last week, was publicly released this week.

“Reports abound of efforts to legalize marijuana in the state of Indiana,” wrote David N. Powell, the association’s executive secretary. “We respectfully ask the (administration) to formally oppose the legalization of marijuana in any form, for any purpose.”

It comes as state Rep. Jim Lucas — a media-savvy politician better known for his outspoken opposition to gun restrictions — says he will “100 percent full-throttle” pursue medical marijuana legislation.

The libertarian-leaning lawmaker from Seymour faces long odds during the session beginning in January, but the fact that a Republican is so vocally pushing the measure marks a significant change.

Reached Tuesday for comment on the prosecutors’ letter, Lucas said: “The gloves are off.”

Holcomb’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Although marijuana remains illegal under federal law, more than half of U.S. states, including some conservative ones, have legalized medical marijuana for the treatment of certain conditions.

“This is what pisses me off: We got 29 states that are ahead of us that have shown the benefits,” Lucas said. “Can it be abused? Sure, anything can be abused. But since we know this can save lives, why do we want to continue to risk the quality of life, or the well-being of innocent people, just because some might go out there and abuse it?”

He suggested medical marijuana could provide an alternative to addictive painkillers.

A federal advisory panel said in a January report that there likely are medical benefits to marijuana, but also potential risks that need to be researched more.

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