Medical Pot Advocates Say Opposition Makes the Movement Stronger

(NETWORK INDIANA)  Medical marijuana may not make it into law this year in Indiana. But, a leader of Indiana NORML, a group that supports medical marijuana, believes anti-marijuana statements from U.S. Atty. Gen. Jeff Sessions, and support from Indiana Atty. Gen. Curtis Hill, will only serve to make the Indiana movement stronger.

“The cannabis movement in the United States, it’s officially too big to fail,” said David Phipps, who has led town halls over the past two years, along with state lawmakers like Rep. Jim Lucas (R-Seymour), and state Sen. Karen Tallian (D-Portage). “The backlash that’s going to come from Jeff Sessions and the Dept. of Justice-it’s gonna backfire.”

Phipps said he believes Sessions and others who have spoken against medical cannabis, are selectively denying states rights.

“They have the right to decide. That’s how we operate in this county. They want to ignore the states’ rights when it’s convenient for them,” said Phipps.

Despite the federal law that prohibits the sale and possession of marijuana, Phipps said he believes the cannabis movement is too big to stop. One reason is that he believes there is too much to lose economically for some states where the sale is already allowed for both medical and recreational purposes.

“We will not go back to full prohibition in this country ever again with cannabis. We are making our progress and we will only continue building on that momentum.”

Hill is a chief opponent of medical pot in Indiana and came out with a statement supporting Sessions.

“Marijuana is either legal or it is not. While Congress had taken no action to legalize marijuana, the executive branch essentially neutralized the law by choosing not to enforce it. As long as federal law prohibits the use, sale and possession of marijuana, it is incumbent upon the Department of Justice to enforce the law, and General Sessions’ termination of the ‘Cole memo’ does just that,” read Hill’s statement.

Phipps believes that every time Hill speaks against medical marijuana, the movement for it actually gets stronger.

“During the summer Curtis Hill spoke out against CBD oil. He wanted to clarify that it is indeed illegal and that people who are buying it in stores can’t. What did that do? It forced our whole general assembly to want to clarify the CBD laws,” said Phipps.

That may indeed make it through the general assembly this year. What lawmakers failed to do last year was make it legal to sell the marijuana extract that can’t get you high and has helped epilepsy patients. Now they may be ready to clarify whether it is legal to sell it in the state.

Phipps said he believes any medical marijuana bills may end up going to a study committee, which he believes they will survive. He said bnext year may be the year for medical cannabis in Indiana.