Last month, the Indiana Chamber weighed in on the General Assembly’s public hearing on legalizing the use of marijuana for medical purposes, stating:
“The Indiana Chamber opposes the legalization of marijuana in any form for recreational use. The Chamber is opposed to medical or therapeutic use until consistent safety and effectiveness in clinical trials exists, as indicated by the Federal Drug Administration (FDA). The Chamber supports the use of isolated components of marijuana, cannabinoids or similar extracts for solely medicinal purposes if approved by the FDA for specific illnesses and diseases.”
Guidelines from the FDA regarding medical marijuana are yet to be issued. The Chamber believes the longer Indiana waits on legislation, the more useful clinical data will be available to make sure that the state gets this right.
It’s worth mentioning that of the 31 states that legalized marijuana for medicinal purposes, eight quickly opted to also approve it for recreational use.
Before the Interim Study Committee on Public Health, the Chamber also talked about the drug’s impact on job performance and the ability of companies to find workers. Employers use drug screenings in hiring, random testing, for cause and as follow-up to treatment. Therefore, we believe legalizing medicinal marijuana will increase access and increase the number of positive drug tests, further negatively impacting Indiana’s workforce.
In submitted testimony, the Chamber noted how important the effects of marijuana are to job performance and employers. Objective and measurable consequences of use include decreased complex motor skills, interference with attention span, loss of efficiency of short-term memory and cognitive impairment (inability to think effectively).
In closing, the Chamber’s Mike Ripley stated, “It comes down to whether individual benefits are worth the tradeoffs. Some of you (legislators on the committee) are convinced that they are worth it; some of us are not.“
Despite robust and impassioned discussions by committee members, no consensus was reached on the matter. That means there will be no formal recommendation on legislation for the 2019 session.
However, the Chamber fully expects there will be a number of bills introduced surrounding medical marijuana and will be prepared to advocate in opposition.
Resource: Mike Ripley at (317) 264-6883 or email: [email protected]