Local lawmakers: Initiatives to reduce penalties or make pot legal will go nowhere

INDIANAPOLIS — Indiana is a long way from easing laws on marijuana use, local lawmakers say, despite a growing trend across the country to relax enforcement and a growing debate here to decriminalize the drug.

Bills will likely come before state lawmakers early next year to decriminalize marijuana, which would make possession of small amounts of pot a civil infraction as opposed to a criminal one. This week, Indiana’s police chief told lawmakers marijuana should be legalized and taxed – a step beyond decriminalizing it, and an idea generally shunned by law enforcement.

But Indiana is a conservative state, and Rep. Bob Cherry, R-Greenfield, says relaxing rules on marijuana is not likely anytime soon.

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