This is proving to be a big year for cannabis. As a result, we are ranking the fifty states from worst to best on how they treat cannabis and those who consume it. Each of our State of Cannabis posts will analyze one state and our final post will crown the best state for cannabis. As is always the case, but particularly so with this series, we welcome your comments. We are now reaching the point in our series where the states we are listing are not laughably (or should we say screamingly) bad, nor are they good. They are generally okay in some areas and bad (without being horrible) in others. Today we turn to number 28: Indiana.
Our previous rankings are as follows: 29. North Carolina; 30. Utah; 31. South Carolina; 32. Tennessee; 33. North Dakota; 34.Georgia; 35. Louisiana; 36. Mississippi; 37. Nebraska; 38. Missouri; 39. Florida; 40. Arkansas; 41. Montana; 42. Iowa; 43. Virginia; 44. Wyoming; 45. Texas; 46. Kansas; 47. Alabama; 48. Idaho; 49. Oklahoma; 50. South Dakota.
Criminal Penalties. Possessing any amount of marijuana in Indiana can earn you up to 180 days in jail and a maximum fine of $1,000. First time offenders may qualify for a conditional discharge, where the marijuana offense will not appear on your record. For a subsequent offense, possession of under 30 grams earns up to a year in prison and a maximum $5,000 fine. The state punishes repeat offenders caught with more than 30 grams with a sentence ranging between six months and three years and a maximum fine of $10,000.
Penalties for the sale of marijuana are as follows:
- Less than 30 grams earns up to 1 year of imprisonment and a maximum fine of $5,000 for the first offense. Subsequent offenses earn 6 months – 3 years imprisonment and a maximum $10,000 fine.
- 30 grams – 10 pounds earns 6 months – 3 years imprisonment and a maximum fine $10,000 fine.
- 10 pounds or more earns 1-6 years imprisonment and a maximum $10,000 fine.
Medical Marijuana. Indiana has no form of legal medical marijuana. It does not even allow for CBD oil. Despite numerous opportunities, the state legislature has repeatedly failed to pass legislation allowing for any form of medical marijuana. This appears to be out of line with the voters in Indiana. A 2013 Hoosier Survey found 53% of Indiana voters favored legalizing the possession of small amounts of marijuana. When it comes to taxes, 78% of voters believe Indiana should tax marijuana like cigarettes. That survey was conducted three years ago and so the numbers are probably even higher (no pun intended) today.
Hemp. Indiana has legalized cultivation of industrial hemp. The state generally defines “industrial hemp” as parts of the Cannabis sativa plant that contain less than 0.3% THC on a dry weight basis. Growers and handlers must obtain a license to cultivate industrial hemp.
The licensing process has been slow for commercial growers and the legislature has attempted to modify it since passing it into law in 2014. Purdue University is currently researching and growing hemp as part of a three-year pilot program.
Bottomline. Indiana’s criminal laws are not great as possessing any amount of marijuana can result in jail time. However, the Hoosier state does not have excessively long penalties for more serious offenses. The fact that the sale of 10 pounds of marijuana earns a maximum 6-year sentence is more reasonable than most states we have ranked below Indiana. But Indiana has no medical marijuana program and its hemp program is still developing. Indiana is not the worst state in the nation when it comes to cannabis, but it isn’t anywhere close to being the best state either.