Indianapolis reminds first responders of marijuana policy

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In the next few days, Indianapolis' Director of Public safety will be sending a memo to all of his employees explaining that if any of them ingests marijuana in any way, anywhere, they will be punished. And the problem boils down to inconsistencies in marijuana laws.

In Indiana, marijuana possession and use is illegal. The Indiana chapter of the national organization for the reform of marijuana laws (NORML), would like to see that change. “It should be should be treated just like alcohol,” explained Geri Twitty, of Indiana NORML.

In Colorado and Washington State, pot is legal. More than a dozen other states have legal medical marijuana and possession of the drug has been decriminalized in at least six other states. That's created an inconsistent patchwork of marijuana laws.

“We still believe it's illegal in Indiana, it's illegal in the nation, as a whole and it will be treated that way, no matter where you use it,” said Indianapolis Public Safety Director Troy Riggs.

Riggs says his office is being proactive, reminding all first responders that if they test positive for marijuana, they will be punished.

“There's a question among some people in public safety throughout the nation - if I go to a state where it's legal and I come back and test positive, that for some reason they can't be held accountable. I just want to make sure our workforce knows that we're going to hold you accountable if you use marijuana,” he said.

So while the push continues to make Indiana pot-friendly, it remains illegal in the state. And first responders are getting a reminder.

“It's coming,” said Twitty of NORML, the marijuana legalization advocacy group.

Director Riggs says he is simply being proactive, and that this is not the result of any incidents in the city. Even if marijuana became legal in Indiana, employers would still have the right to punish, even fire, employees for using it off the clock based on workplace policy.