IN: Cannabis Legalization Rally In Jeffersonville Saturday

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Jeffersonville – This Saturday, Jeffersonville’s City Hall will be the backdrop for people from Clark County and beyond to discuss the legalization of marijuana in Indiana.

Members of the Higher Fellowship, the outreach branch of the Higher Society of Indiana Inc., is working with local co-host John Fouts to bring a community forum that organizers hope will raise awareness on the issue. It will be held from noon to 3 p.m. outside the Jeffersonville City Hall, 500 Quartermaster Court.

Visiting Clark County is part of a planned 92-county tour, David Phipps, co-executive director of the Higher Society of Indiana, said.

“We’re just trying to do everything we can to draw awareness to the issue and try to motivate our fellow Hoosiers to get involved, because it really is that important to us all,” he said.

Phipps cites cannabis-based medication as a safer alternative to some other medications and the missed opportunity for tax revenue as two main reasons he wants to see it legalized.

According to Indiana code 35-48-4-11, it is a Class B misdemeanor to “knowingly possess…marijuana, hash oil, hashish or sativa,” which becomes a Class A misdemeanor if the person has a prior conviction involving a drug offense.

It is a Level 6 Felony if the person has both a prior drug offense charge and possesses 30 or more grams of marijuana or at least five grams of hash oil, hashish or sativa.

“There are people dying because of this law,” he said. “[And] we’re missing out on tax money.]”

Phipps said he and co-founder Bobbie Jo Young want to see the decriminalization of cannabis as a positive thing for the state and Hoosiers, which includes the regulation and taxation of the substance. He used alcohol as an example.

“Obviously, we’ve proven that we can regulate such a thing – we’ve done it with alcohol and there’s no reason we can’t do it with cannabis,” he said. “Right now, that tax revenue is funding drug cartels’ mansions and yachts.”

Clark County Sheriff Jamey Noel said that some community members disagree or blame officers after marijuana busts, especially the larger ones.

“It’s one of the few times that some members of the public get upset [and say] ‘Don’t you have better things to do,’” Noel said.

But he said as a police officer, it’s not his job to make the law. It’s his job to enforce it.

“I personally would not support marijuana being legalized, but I also don’t make the law,” he said. “If it was to become legal, I would respect that [law change.] Bottom line is currently, it’s illegal in Indiana so that’s the way we enforce it.”

Russell Brooksbank, Libertarian candidate for Indiana’s 9th Congressional District, is one of the scheduled speakers at Saturday’s event, and he said as a Libertarian, he believes the law on this is broken.

“I do not believe you or I or anybody else has the right to tell a person what they can or cannot do with their body,” he said. “You have people who are put in jail for no other reason than medicating themselves, causing no harm to anybody.

“And once you get saddled with a drug conviction, it makes it even harder to find a job and it just creates a downward spiral for people.”

Brooksbank said he sees the decriminalization of cannabis as one step in the right direction of “dialing it back,” to what, he said the country was founded on.

“Back to the roots of ‘As long as what I’m doing isn’t harming you, the government needs to stay out of it,” he said.

Phipps said the Clark County rally will be the first this far south in the state, and he’s looking forward to good discourse on both sides of the issue.

“I want all Hoosiers to have a voice,” he said. “I think some of the opposition would have legitimate arguments on certain aspects and they should be heard on that. Every Hoosier should be heard as we are [working to rewrite] this law in our state.”

News Moderator: Katelyn Baker
Full Article: Cannabis Legalization Rally In Jeffersonville Saturday
Author: Aprile Rickert
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