State lawmaker, activist push for hearing on medical marijuana

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – A state legislator and an organization are teaming together to push for a hearing on medical marijuana this week.

State Senator Karen Tallian has authored Senate Bill 284, a bill that establishes a medical marijuana program and permits caregivers and patients who have received a physician recommendation to possess a certain quantity of marijuana for treatment. Tallian tried to pass other bills to decriminalize the drug, but those bills never had a hearing.

“Last year it was suggested to me that maybe I’ll have better luck getting a hearing if I narrowed it down to just medical use,” she said.

Tallian told NewsChannel 15 on Wednesday the bill is in the Health and Provider Services committee, which she said gives hope to a hearing on the issue. State Senator Patricia Miller is the chair of the committee and is a registered nurse. Tallian hopes constituents will call and email Miller regarding how medical marijuana can help with their ailments that other medications can’t do.

Northeast Indiana chapter of National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML) is helping Tallian in her efforts to getting a hearing and eventually get the bill passed. Ben Schoch, executive director of the northeast Indiana chapter, said he could benefit from this legislation because he has a disease where tumors form near his joints.

“If that could benefit me, I’m more than willing to take that benefit,” he said. “I think there are more benefits from it than there are negatives from it.”

Tallian said she should find out if there will be a hearing before the end of the week. If there’s no hearing, she said she’ll keep trying.

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