The General Assembly’s attempt at comprehensive sentencing reform crashed and burned in the last session. So prospects for any effort to reduce criminal penalties look like a long shot. But a targeted attempt at addressing marijuana laws could fare better, provided the bill receives a good public discussion before the full legislature considers it.
Financially, Indiana needs marijuana sentencing reform. The legislature’s Criminal Law and Sentencing Policy Study Committee heard last week that reducing or eliminating penalties for possession of small amounts of marijuana could save up to $200 million a year in law enforcement and corrections costs.
Legalizing and taxing marijuana for medical use could bring in $50 million annually in sales tax revenues.
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