Tougher Indiana penalties eyed after Pence comments

Governor Mike Pence (R-IN)
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Lawmakers are considering toughening marijuana possession and dealing penalties in a proposed overhaul of Indiana's criminal sentencing laws after Republican Gov. Mike Pence questioned whether the plan was strict enough on low-level drug offenders.

Members of the state Senate's Criminal Law Committee discussed the overhaul proposal Tuesday and could vote Thursday on whether to advance it.

The bill aims to direct more people convicted of low-level felonies to work release and other local programs rather than sending them to prison.

A possible change to the bill would increase the felony and misdemeanor levels of marijuana dealing and possession charges.

Pence told reporters last week that he believed the bill should send a message that the state is tough on drug dealers.

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