Indiana NORML Applauds Acting Marion County Prosecutor Ryan Mears’ Focus

INDIANA:  In a press conference, Acting Marion County Prosecutor Ryan Mears announced that the Marion County Prosecutor’s Office will no longer prosecute citizens for possessing less than an ounce of cannabis.      Indianapolis now becomes the first Hoosier city to exercise “lowest priority” status for dealing with simple possession of small amounts of cannabis.

According to , this policy shift is expected to dramatically reduce the number of marijuana possession arrests made by Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department and Marion County Sheriff’s Department law enforcement officers.   “For many years Indiana NORML has worked diligently to address the severe racial disparities in arrests and prosecutions for simple possession of cannabis and to advance civil liberties,” said Smith.  “We’ve also fought for Hoosiers’ right to use medical cannabis with a doctor’s prescription to treat chronic pain and other medical and emotional conditions, so patients can live in peace, without fear of arrest, and criminal prosecution.”

Though INORML has advocated for these changes for decades, the efforts of many of the INORML Board of Directors has intensified over the past months in many different areas.   “These efforts have included face-to-face meetings with several elected officials, including representatives of the Marion County Prosecutor’s office, the Indiana Prosecuting Attorneys’ Council, and numerous state and local officials over the last several months,” said Bill Groth, Indiana NORML Board of Directors. “We are most pleased that our efforts have finally resulted in a sound, compassionate, and permanent reassessment of law enforcement priorities as they relate to possession of cannabis.”

In the interim, the organization looks forward to working with other public officials to enact similar policies across the state to bridge the gap until the Indiana General Assembly decides to finally take direct action to resolve our detrimental and outdated cannabis laws.

Indiana Judge Says No To Cannabis As Sacrament; First Church Of Cannabis Will Appeal

By Neal Smith, Chairman Indiana NORML

INDIANA: Marion County Superior Court Judge Lynch has ruled that the First Church of Cannabis may not use Cannabis as a sacrament, based on a false report issued by a federal agency. The Church maintains that under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, passed the Indiana General Assembly in 2015, the Church has the right to use cannabis is a sacrament. The State of Indiana disagrees.

The State, led by Attorney General Curtis Hill, based their testimony on the lies and half-truths of the Rocky Mountain High Intensity Drug Task Force report on Cannabis. The vast majority of the report’s statements about Cannabis have been soundly refuted.  Yet, Judge Lynch fell for it. Anyone who has done even a modicum of research knows that Robert DuPont, long time federal government prohibitionist figurehead, has repeatedly been proven a liar.

Grand Poohbah Bill Levin

First Church of Cannabis Grand Poohbah Bill Levin

From Judge Lynch’s decision: “Numerous scientific studies have shown that marijuana use “causes impairment in every performance area that can reasonably be connected with safe driving of a vehicle, such as tracking, motor coordination, visual functions, and particularly complex tasks that require divided attention[.]” Ex. 15, DuPont Dec. at fl9. Unsurprisingly, then; marijuana “ranks second (26.9%), only to alcohol (30.6%), in a study on the presence of drugs in accidents involving seriously injured drivers.” EX. 15, DuPont Dec. at11 10.14.”

This point has been disproven.

Also from Lynch’s decision: “In addition, if RFRA affords an exception to the prohibition against marijuana possession, it would be unclear whether state law enforcement officers would be permitted to use the scent of marijuana or plants or paraphernalia in plain View as probable cause for a search warrant.” Ex. 13, Hobson Dec. at 117. Such indicators traditionally have been “obvious sources of probable cause[,]” but a religious exception to the marijuana laws could render them ‘questionable[.]’ Ex. 13, Hobson Dec. at fl 7.”

In other words, law enforcement would actually have to do a proper investigation rather than grabbing the “low-hanging fruit.”

AG Hill, an extreme prohibitionist, seems only content in putting forth any information that supports his views, whether accurate or not. The Indiana Prosecuting Attorneys Council has also supported their tenuous position with the Rocky Mountain report. Indiana NORML has repeatedly pointed out the flaws in the report to no avail. It’s obvious they have no regards for truth in this matter. Does that make you wonder about their competency in other investigations?

Why would they go to this extent of lying and accepting lies as truth? Cannabis arrests bring in money to the system. Fines, probation fees, government grants, civil asset forfeiture and state kickbacks and contributions from private prison groups. Who needs civil liberties when there is money to be made?

The First Church of Cannabis will appeal the decision.