INDIANAPOLIS — Legalizing medical marijuana in Indiana stalled Thursday when a legislative panel reached an impasse over regulating and which health conditions would qualify.
At the end of a four-hour meeting, the Interim Study Committee on Public Health, Behavioral Health and Human Services voted twice on motions in support of medical marijuana, including further research, but could not muster 10 votes to push it forward.
The committee did not formally request a federal review of marijuana, which is considered illegal as a Schedule 1 drug.
In turn, the committee made no recommendation on legalizing medical marijuana. However, other legislators have said they will introduce bills in the 2019 Indiana General Assembly.
"This is not the last time we will ... There will be plenty of senators and representatives bringing legislation forward next year," said State Sen. John Ruckelshaus, R-Indianapolis, a member of the committee.
The impasse developed as one motion by Sen. Mark Stoops, D-Bloomington, indicated marijuana was effective in treating painful medical conditions, including Crohn's disease, AIDS, Alzheimer's, arthritis and others.
He also moved that a state agency either be designated or created to address medical marijuana regulation.
"I have serious concerns about this committee adopting these findings to suggest there may be some scientific evidence" in marijuana's effectiveness for the diseases named, said Sen. Liz Brown, R-Fort Wayne.
"I don't think we should put the cart before the horse. We are not ready to have a regulatory agency or commission to study the impact of this at all. ... We don't even know what a definition of marijuana is," she said.
In response, Stoops said, "Regarding the state regulatory agency or commission, I don't think it is putting the cart before the horse. This is suggesting that we put in place a commission that's going to start getting Indiana up to speed on this issue."
Stoops' motion also noted that 31 states had medical marijuana laws in place.
The committee heard testimony from nine opponents of legalizing medical marijuana, including representatives from the Indiana Attorney General's Office, the Indiana Prosecuting Attorneys Council and the Indiana Chamber of Commerce.
Mike Ripley of the Indiana Chamber said more study needed to be conducted on the impact of medical marijuana on work places.
The committee heard testimony from 13 proponents of medical marijuana, including physicians and the Indiana National Organization for Reform of Marijuana Laws.