While we are all witnessing major strides in the decriminalization and legalization of recreational and medical marijuana throughout the country, there are some states that refuse to budge. While Indiana shows some indications of opening up its policies in the future, currently the state considers the use of marijuana illegal, even in medicinal cases.

In addition to its tight leash on cannabis regulations, Indiana holds some of the harshest punishments for possession in the country. While it is considered a misdemeanor to be caught with up to 30 grams of cannabis as a first offense, the state punishes anything above this amount with up to a year in prison and over $5,000 in fines. In 2012 nearly 9,000 marijuana-related arrests were made, of which 86% was for possession. Among these arrests, African Americans are three times more likely to be charged with possession despite studies indicating the equal use of cannabis among whites and blacks. This obviously creates major issues within minority communities with residents being imprisoned for holding small amounts of cannabis.

Fortunately, there is a light at the end of the tunnel. As part of a massive outcry regarding the state being one of the few in the country to continue the criminalization of cannabis use for medicinal reasons, several reform bills have already been filed in 2017. One of these reforms would establish in-state access for CBD oil, making Indiana the second state in the country to approve such a measure.

As we approach the review of such bills, it has never been so important that residents stay up to date on developing laws. Residents in favor of cannabis law reforms are encouraged to contact state lawmakers to inform them of their support. A recent state-wide poll showed an overwhelming 64% of residents are in favor of cannabis reform and the legalization of medicinal cannabis.