(Indianapolis, Ind.) - A state senator wants to relax Indiana’s marijuana laws, decriminalizing possession of small amounts of the plant.
State Sen. Brent Steele (R-Bedford) said Thursday he will introduce a proposal in the 2013 legislative session that would make possession of 10 grams or less an infraction, similar to a traffic ticket for speeding. If the lawmaker gets his way, violators with less than 10 grams would get a fine instead of being arrested
Currently, Indiana law lists possession of any amount of marijuana under 30 grams as a Class A misdemeanor, punishable by up to a year in jail. More than 30 grams is considered a Class D felony.
“We have to ask ourselves as a society, do we really want to be locking people up for having a couple of joints in their pocket,” Steele said. “Is that how we want to be spending our criminal justice resources?”
Steele said making small amounts an infraction would save the state thousands of dollars in prosecution fees.
Similar legislation failed during the 2012 legislative session. State Sen. Karen Tallian (D-Portage) had submitted a bill to form a legislative study group to assess decriminalizing marijuana possession up to three ounces.
14 states have reduced their penalties for possession of small amounts of marijuana.