IN: Rally In Jeffersonville Sought Support For Legalizing Cannabis

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Jeffersonville – State and local proponents of the legalization of cannabis met Saturday in Jeffersonville to educate with the hope of garnering support for the cause.

David Phipps and Bobbie Jo Young, co-directors of Higher Fellowship, the education outreach arm of the Higher Society of Indiana, Inc., worked with local organizer John Fouts for a rally to help bring about changes to the legality of cannabis. The group is working on tours to all 92 Indiana counties.

Although originally scheduled to be held at Jeffersonville City Hall, the rally-goers relocated to a shelter area at Big Four Station to attract more attendees – and just in time to get out of the rain.

Those at the rally said they want to see a change in legislation regarding cannabis, and pointed to health benefits of the plant in treating a swath of illnesses.

Fouts said he originally got involved with the activism when thinking of his own health – while researching alternatives to mainstream medicine, he said he learned a lot about the benefits of cannabis. Now, he wants to see it be available to Hoosiers.

“I’m here to support cannabis because it is a medicine,” he said. “I’m here to support medical cannabis. But I also believe that it should be fully legal here in the state because it’s much safer than alcohol.”

Although he said he would have liked to see higher attendance at the rally – there were between 20 and 30 people there – he said it was a step in the right direction if they could reach even just one person.

Clarksville resident Marilee Kreml said before she moved to Indiana three years ago, she and her wife were able to treat their medical issues with cannabis in their previous state of California.

“In California, I had a medical use card and I was able to use cannabis in an edible form to take care of my pain,” Kreml said. “I take a couple of different medications to try and control it, and for everyday kind of stuff I’m OK, but there’s breakthrough pain.”

She said she also sees the economic impact legalizing and regulating cannabis could have on Indiana.

“If we grow hemp, if we grow marijuana, then we can regulate,” she said. “We can gain those taxes from it.

“I can see age limit regulations on it, I could see it being taxed, I could see quality control measures, I could see inspections like the food inspections. But I also support it being fully legal and I don’t see it as a gateway drug.”

Kelley Curran, Clark County Libertarian Party Chair and County Council candidate, said she was at the rally to show support.

“I absolutely think cannabis should be legal,” she said. “It’s immoral for it to be illegal … So many of our social ills are caused from the prohibition of drugs…so much of what goes on right now with a lot of your city violence issues, problems in communities where so many of them are locked up for drug crimes.

“And with the marijuana, it is just such a benign substance and for some people it is a comfort. I’m not an expert on the research that cures things, but I’ve heard too many first-hand testimonials to doubt that it is a comfort.”

Libertarian Congressional candidate Russell Brooksbank was among the speakers at the rally, and in opening called to President Obama to reclassify marijuana.

“Not only is the war on drugs ineffectual, and a waste of money because it has done nothing to stop the flow of drugs, it has actually destroyed lives,” Brooksbank said in his speech.

“Whether you know someone who has spent time in prison for self-medicating because our government refuses them access to a life-changing, and in some cases, life-saving medication, or you live, or you know someone who lives, in Scott County where we’re dealing with the HIV epidemic because it’s illegal for people to buy clean needles, or you know someone that is struggling with addiction but is too scared to get help for fear of going to jail or being stigmatized, know this, you are not alone.”

News Moderator: Katelyn Baker
Full Article: Rally In Jeffersonville Sought Support For Legalizing Cannabis
Author: Aprile Rickert
Contact: (812) 283-6636
Photo Credit: Tyler Stewart
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