To all Indiana legislators, The general assembly has an unprecedented opportunity to effectuate positive economic and criminal justice

reforms with two marijuana-related bills introduced so far this session: SB347 and HB1370. Today s economic conditions require all responsible leaders to seriously consider the effectiveness of tax dollar expenditures. Sen. Tallian s SB347 serves to reduce costs to the law enforcement community, as well as providing a more compassionate approach to reducing marijuana use. In the recent fiscal impact report, it was estimated that these proposed changes should eliminate 250 prison beds. Using available data, that suggests a savings of nearly $5,000,000. Harder to estimate is the reduction of costs which will ensue by relieving the judiciary of the burden of these same offenders. A typical arrest can require an officer to spend several hours with: transport, paperwork and possible court room testimony. Changing some possession charges from a felony to an infraction mitigates much of this time. These hours spent arresting and processing non-violent offenders could be redirected towards the prevention of more serious crimes. This bill offers language which will greatly reduce the costs to the state of Indiana while reducing the number of Hoosiers that would otherwise carry a felony conviction throughout their lives.

By passing Rep. Knollman s HB1370, seriously ill Hoosiers will be able to follow the sincere advice of their physicians without fear of arrest. Please do not be swayed by the pharmaceutical industry which would have you believe that there are safe, legal medications for all needs. Instead, consider the myriad testimonials from Hoosiers who after exhausting all conventional alternatives have reluctantly turned to medical marijuana and found it to be the only appropriate treatment.

Detractors will try to convince you that reforming marijuana laws will cause an increase in access and use by teens, a rise in the rate of marijuana-related traffic incidents and an explosion of related criminal activities. Indiana is not the first state to debate these issues and there is ample statistical evidence that these hypothetical concerns have not borne fruit where regulation has been implemented. On the contrary, teenage use is lower in states where it is no longer a drug dealer deciding who can make purchases. Traffic fatalities have been reduced in medical marijuana states. A survey initiated by the Los Angeles Chief of Police found that banks were twice as likely to be targets of crime even though they were far outnumbered by dispensaries.

Never, in the history of American, has there been stronger public sentiment in favor of reforming marijuana laws. In 2004 72% of seniors, polled by the AARP, thought that marijuana should be made available through a physician s recommendation. A national Gallop poll in 2010, found that 70% of Americans felt the same way. Last month the Indiana Senate Democrats conducted a poll and found that 96% of respondents support changing Marijuana laws.

The information contained gives you the proof. The citizens of Indiana have clearly made their feelings on this matter known and deserve to have your heart felt considerations.

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