INDIANAPOLIS -- One Indiana lawmaker says medical marijuana could be legal in the state as early as next year.
Republican State Representative Jim Lucas is sponsoring a bill in the upcoming session and says medical marijuana can help those who are in pain as well as people who are addicted to opioids.
"Now with Oklahoma being the 30th state of the 29 states that have adopted medical cannabis. They've seen on an average 25 percent decrease in opioid deaths. Some states have seen a 50 percent decrease. Indiana having 100 opioid deaths per month. That is literally hundreds of lives we can save in the first year," Lucas said.
Some believe that marijuana users are just seeking a high and there is no medicinal value.
"That's an insult to each and every Hoosier patient that so desperately needs this. That's an insult to the 30 states that have legalized this medication plus Washington, D.C. Those leaders are implementing this for a reason. Let's not insult those leaders. Let's assume they know something that our leaders don't know," David Phipps, National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, said.
54-year-old Sylvia Kemp takes 23 pills a day. She suffers from multiple sclerosis, spasms, neuropathy, and depression.
She learned the benefits of medical cannabis while on vacation in Colorado. Kemp doesn't understand the reluctance to legalize it in Indiana.
"Why do I need to be in pain because they don't understand the benefits? It needs to happen so people can live without pain. With many diseases, not just mine. Although mine is pretty bad, so I would be very grateful," Kemp said.
She has her fingers crossed that Representative Lucas and the legislators come through this upcoming legislative session.
Lawmakers will convene a summer study committee to examine the issue. Those hearing dates have not been set.