INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) - The effort to decriminalize marijuana has failed in the General Assembly. The marijuana bill called for making the possession of small amounts of marijuana a misdemeanor.
Committee chairman Mike Young won't permit a public hearing on it. "It's dead for this year," he said.
Supporters of the decriminalization effort rallied at the Statehouse with support from former Libertarian candidate for governor Rupert Boneham.
"In our constitution of our state of Indiana," Boneham told the small crowd, "it says punishment should match the crime."
The hopes of marijuana smokers lie in the shifting public opinions regarding marijuana use reflected in the recent WISH TV/Ball State Hoosier Survey. It found 53 percent in favor of decriminalization and just 41 percent opposed.
The author of the marijuana bill is Sen. Karen Tallian (D-LaPorte.)
"I have a lot of professional people sending me e-mails," she said, "saying where are you? What can we do to help?"
Senator Young has agreed to keep listening to her.
"So I can work with her over the summer and learn a little bit more about this issue before we hear it."
"We will get a hearing on this bill," says Sen. Tallian.
But it will happen next year at the earliest. In the meantime, marijuana is the subject of growing acceptance around the country. Two states have legalized it completely. Eighteen others permit the use of medical marijuana.