Politics

Libertarian gubernatorial hopeful calls for legal cannabis

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Indiana’s Libertarian candidate for governor made a stop in Montgomery County on Monday to call for the legalization of medical and recreational marijuana.

Donald Rainwater, who was joined by running mate William Henry at hemp farm Heritage Farmacy, said Hoosiers should have the freedom to use the drug and accused state leaders of protecting businesses from competing against the cannabis industry.

“People in Indiana are hurting. Our state was shut down. We’re told it was because they were following the science,” Rainwater, a 57-year-old Navy veteran from Westfield, told about 30 supporters gathered inside the farm’s warehouse just south of Crawfordsville.

“I don’t know what science they were following but if they want to follow the science, they should open the state of Indiana up to cannabis and allow farmers to farm it, manufacturers to manufacture it and people to purchase it,” he added.

The platform calls for commuting prison sentences and expunging criminal records for people convicted of non-violent marijuana-related drug crimes and removing THC drug testing for state employees and Indiana National Guard members. THC is the compound in cannabis that makes people feel “high.”

Other proposals include eliminating the drug as a reason for the search and seizure of a person’s property, removing THC limits on cannabis and re-establishing and defining cannabis as a protected food and agricultural commodity.

Rainwater is far apart from his opponents on the issue. Gov. Eric Holcomb, who has admitted to smoking marijuana while in college, said he doesn’t want to see Indiana legalize marijuana until it’s decriminalized at the federal level.

Democrat Dr. Woody Myers, a physician, favors the appropriate medical use and decriminalization of possessing THC products, but doesn’t support fully legalizing recreational marijuana.

Recent bills introduced in the Indiana General Assembly to legalize cannabis have not received hearings.

Polls show Hoosiers are in favor changing the law. More than eight in 10 Hoosiers support legalizing recreational or medical marijuana, according to the 2018 Hoosier Survey by Old National Bank and Ball State University.

“Now I’m not here because I want everybody in the state of Indiana to smoke pot or whatever crazy thing that the governor wants to label it as,” Rainwater said. “I’m here because I believe that the citizens of the state of Indiana are being deprived an opportunity — medically, economically, agriculturally, in the manufacturing industry, in retail. The economics of this are wide-ranging.”

Rainwater’s position drew support from Heritage Farmacy owner Mark Davidson, who said he turned to CBD oil to relieve years of chronic pain, and resident Miriah Mershon, whose 9-year-old son, Jameson, uses medical cannabis to treat a rare form of epilepsy.

“It’s not always, you know, ‘We’re the pot people.’ We’re not the pot people, we’re the CBD people. We’re the cannabis people,” Mershon said. “And I’d like that stigma change quite a bit.”

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