SOUTH BEND — When it comes to marijuana, Michigan is changing fast, and some in Indiana are taking note.
On Tuesday Michigan voted to become the 10th state to legalize adult-use marijuana, and the next day the subject came up at a meeting of area law enforcement leaders south of the state line. They were concerned about preparing for an uptick in impaired driving in the area.
“People should know law enforcement around here is working together on how to address it,” Dave Wells, commander of the St. Joseph County Drug Investigation Unit, said.
Some marijuana advocates downstate, meanwhile, think Michigan’s legalization could spur Hoosier legislators — maybe within the next year or two — to take action on the issue of medical marijuana, which has gradually gained attention over the last decade.
“It would pass the House floor,” predicted David Phipps, communications director of the Indiana branch of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws in Indianapolis. “It’s the Senate where we need to gain a few more votes.”
Others weren’t sure how fast action might come but felt legalization in Michigan and surrounding states could have an effect on the Hoosier state. Illinois and Ohio have medical marijuana, and Kentucky is moving toward a medical program.
“I hope so,” Democratic Indiana Sen. Karen Tallian, of Ogden Dunes, Ind., said.