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State lawmakers split over marijuana legalization

Carlin Yoder opposes legalization, while Portage lawmaker Karen Tallian sees financial opportunity in it.

Posted on March 13, 2014 at 2:20 p.m.

Some say it's only a matter of time before Indiana decriminalizes marijuana.

As of Jan. 1, Colorado became the first state to sell recreational marijuana. The amount of money already made in the first month has turned the head of one Indiana lawmaker.

Indiana Sen. Karen Tallian, D-Portage, has introduced marijuana decriminalization bills in the past few sessions, but it has not passed yet, WTHR-TV in Indianapolis reports

She said that Colorado showed Indiana how much money is in marijuana legalization, so she might introduce another bill next year.

"Maybe I'll try medical marijuana, maybe that will get them," Tallian told WTHR. "Or maybe I just try the whole legalization program, I'm not sure what I'll do, but it's time for Indiana to do something."

But Indiana Sen. Carlin Yoder, R-Middlebury, said legalizing marijuana just for the revenue is the wrong action.

"Drugs are not healthy for families and society and it's a mistake to go down the path to legalize it as a product. It's not all about revenue," he said. "We make enough money from gambling and other sin taxes and I'm very skeptical we need to look for new ways to gain revenue by legalizing drugs."

But that doesn't necessarily mean that Yoder believes marijuana legalization is out of the question for Indiana.

"I think it probably is inevitable, but that doesn't mean I'm going to step aside and let it happen," he told WTHR.

Elkhart County Prosecuting Attorney Curtis Hill said in early February that he's not in favor of decriminalizing pot, as it it's a gateway drug and won't help crime issues where pot is often associated. 

What do you think? Should Indiana legalize marijuana? Let us know what you think in the comments below.




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