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Indiana: House Passes Medical Marijuana Bill For Epilepsy

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

People who have epilepsy in Indiana could soon be treated with a marijuana-based oil thanks to a new bill passed by the Indiana House.

The chamber approved the bill with an overwhelming vote of 98-0 today, February 21. A similar measure was previously approved by the state Senate.

The bill would allow the use of cannabidiol oil, otherwise known as CBD. The oil does not get patients high, but it contains compounds that have been found to lessen the effects of some forms of epilepsy.

Although the measure is a far cry from legalizing a comprehensive medical marijuana program, it is the farthest a medical marijuana bill has ever advanced in the State House.

Indiana: Large Majority Of Voters Support Legalizing Medical Marijuana


By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

A new WTHR/HPI Indiana Poll has found that a vast majority of likely Indiana voters are in support of legalizing medical marijuana in the state. The poll focused specifically on likely voters and strongly indicates that an initiative effort to legalize marijuana as a medicine would be approved with overwhelming support.

According to the poll, 73% of likely voters in the state are in support of medical marijuana. Only 25% are opposed to the move, and want to keep medical narijuana illegal.

Only 2% of likely voters were found to be undecided.

The survey found Democrats to be the most likely to support medical cannabis with 82%, support followed by independents at 77%. Support among Republicans was lower, but still a strong majority was in support at 59%.

There are lawmakers in the state who are working to make a change in the law. Last year Indiana State Senator filed Senate Bill 284, a proposal to legalize medical cannabis, including personal cultivation and dispensaries. Unfortunately the measure failed to advance, but the conversation is already underway.

Indiana: Six Churchgoers Eat Marijuana Cookies, Get Stoned

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Police in Ellettsville, Indiana say six churchgoers were hospitalized after eating cookies given to them by a fellow congregant at Mass. They all tested positive for THC (tetrahydrocannibinol), the psychoactive component in marijuana.

The batch was distributed May 22 at St. John the Apostle Church in Ellettsville, 50 miles southwest of Indianapolis.

Ellettsville Deputy Chief Tony Bowlen told the Bloomington Herald-Times that the cookies were the only common factor among the afflicted, and that the urine of all those affected tested positive for cannabinoids.

Bowlen says no decisive link has been made between the cookies and their symptoms, which included high blood pressure, anxiety, munchies, lethargy, and paranoia.

The cookie-eaters range in age from 12 to 70.

Indiana: Elkhart Manufacturer Pushes For Hemp Legalization

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By Derrick Stanley
hemp News

An Elkhart manufacturing CEO says if it was legal to grow hemp in Indiana, it would create substantial savings in an industry where "pennies count."

During an interview with Inside INdiana Business, FlexForm Technologies Chief Executive Officer Gregg Baumbaugh said his company has to import hemp from Europe. FlexForm uses non-woven natural fibers to produce components that become mats and panel products for the automotive and aerospace industries because hemp fibers result in products that are lighter, stronger and more impact-resistant than wood or fiberglass alternatives.

Baumbaugh says his company uses up to 80,000 pounds of material each week, and that growing hemp locally could save at least $5,000 per 42,000 pounds of material compared to importing.

A federal law signed by President Obama in 2014 allows institutions of higher education and state departments of agriculture to grow or cultivate industrial hemp. Nineteen states, including Indiana, have established laws that provide for hemp pilot studies.

Purdue University has taken a leading role in researching how to grow and harvest hemp effectively. Last year, Purdue University Assistant Dean Ron Turco said he believed commercial growth would eventually be part of the state’s economic future.

Indiana: Lafayette Rally Calls For Marijuana Legalization

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Several dozen people gathered Wednesday on the steps of the Tippecanoe County Courthouse to send a message to lawmakers: it's time Indiana joined other states in legalizing marijuana.

Twenty states now allow medical marijuana; four states plus the District of Columbia allow recreational marijuana for adults. Ohio took a step closer yesterday to allowing medical marijuana when the House of Representatives passed a bill 71 to 26.

"It's time for us to get with the days, get with the times and make it legal; regulate it," said David Phipps with The Higher Fellowship.

"Let's benefit from the tax dollars. Let's get these patients the medicine they need. Let's get the farmers yet another crop that they can be growing. Let's do this good thing for our state," Phipps added.

Some folks at the rally supported medical marijuana but not recreational.

"I just don't think it's that necessary, honestly. If you really don't need it, why would you do it, right?" said Crystal Gaeta. She said she saw it do wonders for friends coping with the effects of chemotherapy to treat cancer.

Supporters of marijuana legalization said it's time to vote in new lawmakers if the current ones won't consider the issue.

Indiana: Rapper Twista Arrested For Marijuana Possession Before Concert

Twista arrested for marijuana possession in Indiana.

By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Carl Terrell Mitchell, better known as the rapper Twista, was arrested Thursday night on drug charges on his way to perform a show at a club in northwest Indiana.

In his 2009 song "Fire," Twista raps about smoking marijuana: "Looking at me rolling the blunt / And I'm huffing and puffing / I can't get enough of this stuff and I'm losing my logic / You could smell it all on my follicles."

Police officers stopped a black Rolls-Royce on US 6 eastbound from Willowcreek Road in Portage, Indiana for following too close. The Porter County Sheriff's Office said that their officer smelled marijuana when he approached the car, and asked the driver to get out.

The driver said he was driving Twista to a show at Big Shots bar in South Haven, Indiana. He also told officers they had been smoking pot.

Officers found about half an ounce of marijuana in a fake can while searching the car. All four of the men in the car denied the pot was theirs, and all four were arrested, forcing the cancellation of the concert scheduled for later that night.

"The information we received regarding the two [artists] booked at Big Shots (Twista on March 24 and Montana of 300 on March 25) alleged they would bring a large crowd to the area," Porter County Sheriff David Reynolds said in a statement. "In the past, violence had erupted at these rap artists' concerts."

Indiana: Sheriff's Deputy Arrested For Meth, Selling Marijuana


By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

A Marion County, Indiana sheriff's deputy was arrested on charges of possessing methamphetamine and dealing marijuana with the help of a confidential informant, police said last month.

Jed Adams, canine handler and a seven-year veteran of the sheriff's department, was arrested after an informant set up a meeting with Adams, according to the Plainfield Police Department.

Police said Adams showed up for the meeting and supplied the informant with illegal drugs.

Adams is also facing a preliminary charge of official misconduct.

Sheriff John Layton fired Adams' ass, the department announced in a press release, although they didn't put it exactly that way.

Photo of Jed Adams: Marion County Sheriff's Office

Indiana: Schools Debut Bogus 'Weed Goggles' To Illustrate Reefer Madness


By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Schools and anti-marijuana groups in Hancock County, Indiana, are debuting "marijuana goggles" at a community event this weekend, in what they call an effort to "fight teen drug use."

"The goggles allow the teens to see through the eyes of someone who has been smoking, without ever lighting up themselves," reports Jessica Smith at WISH TV.

"It's a huge problem in our community, underage drinking and use of substances," said wide-eyed Blair Viehweg, a Mount Vernon senior. "A lot of friends and teammates I've had have gotten caught and I just think it would make our community a better place if we eliminated it."

The teens on the Hancock County Youth Council -- a group of teens from four different high schools, with the goal of keeping other young people from drinking or doing drugs -- tried the goggles for themselves, "so they could use them to warn other students."

"It just blows my mind," Viehweg said. "It's definitely crazy to think it can do something like that to you." Yeah, Blair... it definitely IS crazy to believe that.

The students, while wearing the "marijuana goggles," took part in a simulated driving exercise. The goggles unexplainably take away the ability to see the color red, which of course makes seeing brake lights and stop lights harder.

Exactly why "marijuana goggles" would do that wasn't explained. I mean, I've smoked weed almost every day since 1977, and I can still see red just as clearly as hell.

Indiana: Marijuana Based Religion Is Growing Like A Weed


By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Do you use cannabis every day, religiously? So does Indiana's Bill Levin, and he's taking advantage of the state's controversial Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) -- passed to legalize discrimination against gays in restaurants and other establishments -- to offer a bold test of the law's ban on government restraints on the exercise of religion.

Adherents of the recently established First Church of Cannabis worship and smoke marijuana, reports Steven Nelson at US News & World Report, which is illegal to grow, use or possess under state law.

It's unclear if local police and prosecutors will take action against the church, or accept claims the conduct is protected by the RFRA. We'll know more after the church's first worship service, scheduled for July 1, the same day the RFRA takes effect.

Levin said he's trying to find a church building willing to lease him space. He said the July 1 service will happen "come hell or high water" and that he will consider any suitable alternative, including religious campgrounds, private land, or a public park.

Indiana: First Church of Cannabis Approved After 'Religious Freedom' Law Passed


By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Turning around a new law originally intended as a tool of intolerance against gays, the First Church of Cannabis Inc. has been approved by Indiana's secretary of state after the state's "religious freedom" legislation came into effect last week.

Church founder Bill Levin said he filed the paperwork in direct response to Gov. Mike Pence's signing of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act into law last Thursday, reports Sarah Pulliam Bailey of The Washington Post. Secretary of State Connie Lawson approved the church as a religious corporation with the stated intent "to start a church based on love and understanding with compassion for all."

Cannabis is listed as a sacrament in the church's doctrine, according to Levin, who set he was setting up a church hierarchy. Levin wrote out the new "Diety Dozen," a list of suggestions for better living comparable to the 10 Commandments.

The church will grow hemp, he said, though it will not buy or sell marijuana.

"If someone is smoking in our church, God bless them," Levin said. "This is a church to show a proper way of life, a loving way to live life. We are called 'Cannataerians.'"

Indiana: Two Medical Marijuana Bills Filed In Legislature


By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Two Democratic lawmakers have filed bills that would allow the use of medical marijuana in Indiana, but neither measure is likely to make any progress in the Republican-controlled Legislature, according to observers.

Sen. Karen Tallian (D-Portage) and Rep. Sue Errington (D-Muncie) are sponsoring bills in the Indiana Senate and House, respectively, that would allow state residents to use cannabis for medicinal purposes with a doctor's authorization, reports the Associated Press.

Errington's House bill would allow patients with conditions including cancer, glaucoma, AIDS, hepatitis C, Crohn's disease or Alzheimer's disease to use marijuana for treatment.

Unfortunately, the bill has been assigned to the House Rules and Legislative Procedures Committee, where it's unlikely to get a hearing, according to Errington.

"Bills that go there usually don't come back out," Errington told The Star Press. "I would like it to at least get a hearing, so people could come and tell their stories -- patients and physicians and others."

According to Errington, she's heard from constituents who are suffering from chronic pain and seizures, who would like to use medical marijuana to ease their suffering.

Indiana University Study Looking At Marijuana's Effects On The Brain


By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

With marijuana legalization gathering momentum daily, two scientists at Indiana University are looking at the effect of cannabis on the human brain.

"People have very strong opinions," said Professor Brian O'Donnell of Indiana University's School of Psychology and Brain Sciences, reports Dustin Grove at WISH-TV. "There are people who feel like marijuana is this deadly drug that causes brain damage. And other people feel it's highly therapeutic -- that it can cure PTSD, for example.

"We're looking for the evidence," O'Donnell said.

"Unfortunately we don't know a lot about what cannabis does to our brains," said Associate Professor Sharlene Newman, who directs the school's imaging facility.

The researchers are recruiting 30 volunteers for the study: 30 who have never used cannabis, 30 who used to smoke weed but don't anymore, and 30 current users.

Researchers will use brain scans from magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to answer questions about how marijuana might alter the course of brain development in adolescence and early adulthood, "how much is too much" for particular age groups, and "whether stopping use allows for recovery."

Indiana: Marijuana Legalization Ad Pulled At Alcohol-Soaked NASCAR Race

Alcohol vs Marijuana gif

Video ad on jumbotron at event sponsored by MillerCoors and Crown Royal informed fans that marijuana is less toxic than alcohol and less likely to contribute to violent and reckless behavior

Media company that solicited the ad from the Marijuana Policy Project, approved the ad content, and accepted payment for the ad is dropping it after receiving pressure from an organization that claims marijuana is not less harmful than alcohol

By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

A video ad that began airing Friday on a jumbotron outside the NASCAR Brickyard 400 is scheduled to be pulled at the insistence of an extremist anti-drug group, because it highlights the fact that marijuana is objectively less harmful than alcohol. The company dropping the ad, Grazie Media, solicited the ad from the Marijuana Policy Project (MPP), approved its content, and accepted payment for it.

The decision to pull the ad was announced in a press release distributed by Save Our Society From Drugs, which states the organization opposes the ad because of its message that marijuana is less toxic than alcohol and less likely to contribute to violent and reckless behavior.

"We find it odd that this company is willing to run ads at an alcohol-fueled event, yet unwilling to run an ad that simply highlights the ways in which marijuana is less harmful than alcohol," said Mason Tvert, director of communications for the Marijuana Policy Project.

Indiana: Marijuana Legalization Ad to Air at NASCAR Brickyard 400 This Weekend


Video on jumbotron will inform fans that marijuana is objectively less harmful than alcohol; ad reminiscent of a beer commercial characterizes marijuana as a 'new beer' with 'no calories,' 'no hangovers,' and 'no violence' associated with its use

By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

NASCAR fans attending this weekend's Brickyard 400 races at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway will be greeted by a video ad in support of making marijuana legal for adults. The ad, produced by the Marijuana Policy Project, is scheduled to air dozens of times from Friday through Sunday on the jumbotron at the entrance of the speedway, which will be "the epicenter of American stock car racing and North American sports car racing" this weekend, according to the event's website.

The ad, which is reminiscent of a beer commercial, highlights the relative safety of marijuana compared to alcohol by characterizing marijuana a "new 'beer'" that is less harmful to the consumer and to society. It points out that marijuana has no calories, does not produce hangovers because it is less toxic, and does not contribute to the violent and reckless behavior frequently linked to alcohol use.

"Our goal is to make this weekend's event as educational as it will be enjoyable," said Mason Tvert, director of communications for the Marijuana Policy Project. "We simply want those adults who will be enjoying a beer or two at the race this weekend to think about the fact that marijuana is an objectively less harmful product.

Indiana: Governor To Sign Bill Increasing Penalties For Marijuana

(Photo: American Elephants)By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

With the rest of the United States moving toward relaxing the marijuana laws, Indiana seems to be bravely marching into the past. The Hoosier State's penalties for marijuana are getting tougher after Gov. Mike Pence requested -- and got -- stricter laws for low-level cannabis offenders.

The bill, HB 1006, still has at least one committee hearing, then it goes to the full Senate for a vote, Skywolf Neal Smith of Indiana NORML told Hemp News on Wednesday. It could be changed in committee or on the Senate floor; if there are significant changes, it will have to go back through the House for approval of the Senate changes, Smith said.

The increased penalties come as part of an overhaul of Indiana's criminal sentencing laws; possession of anything over about one-third of an ounce of marijuana is now a felony in Indiana. Pence said last week that he believed the bill would "send a message that the state is "tough on drug dealers."

Another part of the new law would require that felons -- which, of course, now include low-level pot possession defendants -- serve at least 75 percent of their sentences, up from the 50 percent or less that inmates might now serve if they earn good time and education credits while in prison.

Indiana: Lawmakers Study Legalizing Medical Marijuana

By Anne Thompson, FOX 19

There is a truth that must be heard! INDIANA (FOX19) - Indiana lawmakers are set to begin studying whether they should amend its drug laws and decriminalize marijuana, or create a medical marijuana program.

Indiana State Representative Tom Knollman, a Republican from Union County, has gotten used to a life of prescription medications and motorized scooters since he was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis.

Now the lawmaker is weighing in on the debate over whether marijuana use should be legalized in the Hoosier state. He says the chronic pain associated with his condition, for which there is no cure, might be lessened by the use of medical marijuana.

He gets emails almost every day from others in his state who suffer from not only M.S. but other conditions which are chronic and painful, and the request is the same from them all. They want to be able to use the drug lawfully, to alleviate their pain.

Rep. Knollman has not decided if he would supporting the legalization of pot for the public.

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