Marion County, Indiana declines to prosecute cannabis cases

Marion County, Indiana declines to prosecute cannabis cases

Well here’s some good news from Indiana: The prosecutor of Marion County, Indiana (the county where Indianapolis is located) announced that his office will no longer prosecute cannabis-related cases. There’s no law on the books to change this — cannabis is still illegal in Indiana, and technically still illegal in Indianapolis. But the prosecutor says that prosecuting cannabis-related cases (often to the detriment of fighting other crimes, often violent crimes) is essentially a waste of time. Prosecuting those cases, says Ryan Mears, “is not a win for our community.” He adds that “the enforcement of marijuana policy has disproportionately impacted people of color, and this is a first step to addressing that.”

Now, there’s currently an election coming in Marion County for the office of the prosecutor, and you might imagine that those seeking to take the office might take a political stance opposed to this change. But in fact, you’d be wrong. Tim Moriarty is running for office as a Democrat, and he says if elected, he would “keep this change in policy in place and work alongside the community to analyze its effects.”

Well maybe the Republicans will battle against this? The mayor of Indianapolis is a Democrat, and it turns out that his former Republican opponent also supports the change (though he says he supports the policy less as a change in cannabis law, and more as "any effort to stem the bloodshed in our streets” — we’ll take it).

This doesn’t mean that the change is completely unopposed — the state Attorney General, Curtis Hill, spoke up against the lack of enforcement, suggesting that he was “concerned that this proclamation in Marion County will attract to Indianapolis people with a particular interest in communities where drug enforcement is lax.” That is certainly a risk, we’d imagine.

Fortunately, the prosecutor isn’t clearing all crimes, and in fact, without having to put time and effort into arresting people for cannabis, the prosecutor might actually have more time to fight more criminal activity. At any rate, we’re happy to see Marion County change this policy. Sometimes, you don’t need a big, sweeping law to tip the scales back in the direction of justice — you just need some common sense and the willing to say that the current law is wrong.

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