Dude, what were you smoking?
Friday, November 30, 2012 10:00 AM
Some folks might be wondering what Indiana State Police Superintendent Paul Whitesell was smoking when he suggested that Indiana consider legalizing recreational use of marijuana.
In a Tuesday meeting with the State Budget Committee, Whitesell was asked about bills headed to the legislature that would either legalize recreational use of marijuana or lessen the criminal penalties for small amounts of pot.
Whitesell responded: "If it were up to me, I do believe I would legalize it and tax it."
Not the answer many were expecting from the state's no-nonsense top cop.
The public relations operatives began damage control immediately, saying Whitesell "personally understands the theoretical argument for taxation and legalization," but that he wasn't really for easier access to pot.
There's not going to be a lot of support in the General Assembly to legalize the recreational use of marijuana. As House Speaker Brian Bosma (R-Indianapolis) told The Indianapolis Star: "As an entry drug, I think marijuana is more powerful than it's given credit for." He seemed dismissive of any bill aimed in that direction.
More reasonable, though, is a bill coming from Sen. Brent Steele. The Bedford Republican's plan would decrease the penalty for possession of 10 grams or less to an infraction and a $500 fine. The law now calls for a $5,000 fine and jail time.
Steele's point: The state can't afford to keep prosecuting and holding people accused of such small-time crime.
That's not a bad plan.