Indiana continues to resist the trend of legal marijuana embraced by its neighboring states, and this position will cost us in the long run.
Not only is the state of Indiana spending money on police resources to punish the victimless crimes associated with marijuana, it is losing out on tax revenue and a surge in business.
As marijuana becomes more accepted as a legal business venture, this new industry will create an influx in tax revenue as well as jobs in the growing and selling operations.
Meanwhile, states that are slow to legalize will not only miss out on this revenue, but will also continue to spend law enforcement resources fighting a losing battle.
Fighting marijuana will only become more difficult and costly as our neighboring states allow people to buy it legally and then bring it here.
By maintaining marijuana’s criminal status, the substance remains in the underground drug market, along with more dangerous substances like cocaine and heroin.
We hurt our economy even further when we prosecute individuals for the sale of marijuana because a criminal record negatively affects people’s ability to find employment.
By keeping marijuana illegal, we make it more dangerous. In an unregulated drug market, there is nothing stopping suppliers from tampering with their product and lacing it with chemicals.
The fact is that the marijuana business is active in the Hoosier state whether we like or not. The question is whether we will allow it to be a thriving, regulated, tax-revenue-generating industry or leave it in the hands of criminals.