Representative Jim Lucas is fighting to allow patients in Indiana to legally medicate with marijuana.
Medical marijuana is already legal in 29 states. While the bulk of states to legalize may be on the coasts, other regions, known for their conservative values are starting to embrace the idea.
The newest example comes from Indiana, where Republican lawmaker Jim Lucas plans on introducing a bill to legalize medical marijuana. Though he has yet to submit the bill, Lucas has “every intention of introducing a bill that legalizes medical marijuana,” according to the Indy Star.
Lucas seems moved by the unfortunate situation sick Hoosiers find themselves in.
“I can’t comprehend how we can deny people something that provides them with relief that’s not addictive and is not killing anyone when we know for a fact that prescription opioids are killing people,” he said.
Unfortunately for Lucas, he may be fighting an uphill political battle. Indiana is known for its conservative politics and many high-profile GOP lawmakers in the state are vehemently against legalizing marijuana, even for medicinal use.
“I understand this is going to be a minefield,” Lucas said. “My plan is to make this such an issue with the media and the people that the state will be forced to give it a proper hearing.”
There may be a glimmer of hope as Indiana lawmakers were willing to legalize the use of CBD oil for those with epilepsy that are unable to take prescription medication.
But it looks like legalizing expanded medical marijuana as opposed to limited CBD use is an entirely different battle.
“Here in Indiana, money-hungry profiteers are lining up with dollar signs in their eyes contemplating prospects of a legal marijuana market,” said Indiana Attorney General, Curtis Hill in a June op-ed piece. “Let’s hope that day never comes.”
Lucas is hoping to modernize the view of marijuana by his legislative peers.
“The gateway drug thing, we have to get past that,” Lucas said. “I would point out we have a gateway drug that is punching us in the face right now and it is prescription opioids.”
At least Lucas can count on one ally. Democratic Senator Karen Tallian has also sought to legalize medical marijuana.
“Sometimes it just has to be somebody else’s idea,” she said. “I’ve always said the left meets the right if you keep going far enough.”