Greg Morris: Study, then legalize medical marijuana

The Indiana General Assembly’s one-day special session in May tackled some issues and assigned others, such as legalizing medical marijuana, to summer study committees.

I hope the Interim Study Committee on Public Health, Behavioral Health and Human Services is open to the guts of House Resolution No. 2, which was introduced in January and can be read on the Indiana General Assembly website—iga.in.gov (2018 session).

Thanks to legislators for taking a serious look at this topic. No, they’re not considering legalizing recreational marijuana, and I’m not advocating that they do. But it’s time to recognize the drug offers more than a cheap high.

Patients with a debilitating condition who would stand to benefit from marijuana use and who have a doctor’s authorization should be able to obtain the substance from a registered not-for-profit dispensary to treat their condition.

What constitutes an approved debilitating medical condition? Let’s try these as discussion starters: cancer, glaucoma, HIV/AIDS, Hepatitis C, ALS, Crohn’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, cachexia or wasting syndrome, severe and chronic pain, severe nausea, seizures (including epilepsy), severe or persistent muscle spasms (including multiple sclerosis) and post-traumatic stress disorder.

There are certainly others that could be approved by the Indiana State Department of Health.

Maybe the law specifies that a registered patient’s use of medical marijuana is to be considered equivalent to the use of any other medication under the direction of a physician. And what if the law specified that employers can’t discriminate against registered patients unless doing so would cost the employer money or licensing under federal law?

The law should limit the registered patient and any designated caregiver to a few ounces at any one time, or it could limit the quantity to a “14-day supply,” for example.

And of course, the state needs to figure out how to fund,

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