INDIANAPOLIS — Gov. Eric Holcomb publicly admitted Wednesday he used marijuana while he was a student at Hanover College in southern Indiana.
Holcomb did not provide any details to reporters about the form of marijuana he consumed or the frequency of his marijuana use while studying history between 1986 and 1990 at the state's oldest private college.
But the Republican insisted his past drug use does not change his opposition to the legalization of either medicinal or recreational marijuana in the Hoosier state, so long as the drug remains prohibited under federal law.
"We're following the law, and I'm proud of that fact," Holcomb said. "I like to be in line with federal law."
Marijuana is classified by the federal government as a Schedule 1 controlled substance, which means there is no currently accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse.
The Obama administration advised states in 2013 it would not interfere with initiatives to permit recreational or medicinal marijuana use at the state level, provided those efforts did not make marijuana available to children or affect federal drug trafficking enforcement.
Since then, 10 states have legalized recreational marijuana, including Michigan, and 33 allow medicinal marijuana use, including Illinois.
Holcomb said if federal law concerning marijuana were changed by Congress, he'd be willing to "look at all the positive or adverse impacts it might have on our population."
"This would require medical research and science to give us the true evidence on both the medicinal value and the efficacy of recreational use. That's not here yet," Holcomb said. "I'm not against that research being done. Quite frankly, just the opposite."
In the meantime, he said, "I'm not convinced that other states have made a wise decision, both short-term and long-term."
Several proposals seeking to legalize either medicinal or recreational marijuana use in Indiana, notwithstanding the governor's objection, failed to win approval in the Republican-controlled House or Senate prior to a key deadline this week, likely ending any chance that the measures will become law this year.