An Indiana legislative committee heard testimony today as lawmakers begin studying whether to revise the state’s marijuana laws.

Indianapolis criminal defense attorney Steve Dillon told the panel that punishments for possessing a small amount of pot are too severe, don’t deter people from using it and are costing the justice system tens of millions of dollars.

“We can throw that $150 million a year to go after real crime like meth labs, which, when I was here in April and they had hearings, I heard four hours of people talking about drug things, and all they talked about was Oxycontin and meth labs,” he said.

Other witnesses asked lawmakers to create a medical marijuana program that would help people suffering from an array of illnesses, including cancer, multiple sclerosis and AIDS.

Opponents say they’re concerned that more lenient pot laws could lead to even wider drug use.

Governor Mitch Daniels says he wants to see the committee’s findings before taking a position on the issue.

Rick Howlett is host of WFPL's weekly talk show, "In Conversation."