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Group promotes tax benefit of legalizing pot in Indiana

Indiana Cann said studies show the state could make $171 million a year in taxes from marijuana sales if lawmakers adopt Colorado's tax model.

INDIANAPOLIS — Some Indiana business owners officially formed a group Wednesday to push for the legalization of marijuana in the state.

The group, called Indiana Cann, said studies show the state could make $171 million a year in taxes from marijuana sales if lawmakers adopt Colorado's tax model. They said that would be enough to fund 12 state agencies and still have money left over.

"All the money's going to Illinois, Michigan, Ohio's got medical (marijuana) and if you look around the rest of the world, it's everywhere - even in Utah," said Half Moon Hemp owner Adam Gillatte. "To watch all this taxable revenue go to these other states when we have programs we could be funding inside this state." 

Several lawmakers do plan to introduce bills next month to legalize marijuana, but their chances of passage have always been a longshot in the Republican legislature. 

RELATED: Marijuana advocates cautiously optimistic about cannabis infrastructure bill

Earlier this week, Gov. Eric Holcomb said he won't support legalizing marijuana in Indiana until it's legal at the federal level. But the governor, who admitted to smoking marijuana in college, said he was open to the discussion of decriminalizing pot for those found with small amounts of the drug.

"I don't think having possession of small amounts should ruin your life," he said, but questioned what a small amount should be.

RELATED: Should Indiana legalize marijuana? Holcomb says federal government should decide first

In September 2019, Marion County Prosecutor Ryan Mears announced his office would no longer prosecute cases where someone is picked up for having less than an ounce of marijuana.

"Our priority is violent crime," Mears said at the time. "We are not going to mess around with these small possession of marijuana cases."

In the weeks following that announcement, the prosecutor's office dismissed more than 200 cases of simple marijuana possession. 

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