Indiana Lawmaker Seeks to Reduce Marijuana Penalties

An influential Indiana lawmaker says he’ll introduce legislation that would reduce penalties on people found in possession of small amounts of marijuana.

Republican state Sen. Brent Steele of Bedford plans to introduce a bill next session that would make possession of 10 grams or less an infraction, rather than a criminal misdemeanor. Ten grams is equivalent to about one-third of an ounce or roughly enough to make 20 to 30 marijuana cigarettes.

Many other states and college campuses already treat possession of small amounts of pot as an infraction, which means the offender is ticketed, not arrested. In Kentucky, the General Assembly passed a bill last year to give police more discretion over whether or not to arrest anyone caught with marijuana.

Steele tells the Indianapolis Business Journal that in those states “society didn’t melt down” or “turn into a drug-crazed culture.”

Steele chairs the Senate committee on corrections, criminal and civil matters.

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