Indiana State Senator Brent Steele, Republican, plans to introduce a bill next session that would decriminalize the possession of 10 grams or less of marijuana.
Steele is chairman of the Senate committee on corrections, criminal and civil matters, and he believes that marijuana decriminalization will only help, not hurt Indiana residents. Marijuana decriminalization would make minor marijuana possession an infraction rather than a misdemeanor, which would free up court resources and help lessen the long term impact of low level arrests for offenders.
When other states decriminalized marijuana possession, “Society didn’t melt down.” Steele explained. “We didn’t turn into a drug-crazed culture as a result of it.”
The marijuana provision will be introduced in a bill that will make changes to the Indiana Criminal Code. The changes seek to ensure that punishments are appropriate for the crimes committed.
Steele is not the first to recommend decriminalization in Indiana. In 2011, Senator Karen Tallian introduced a bill that would have decriminalized the possession of three ounces of marijuana, but it was never brought to vote.
Currently, possession 30 grams or less of marijuana is a Class A misdemeanor on first offense in Indiana.