Indiana’s neighbors are making millions from selling marijuana

Indiana is nowhere near legalizing marijuana in any form. And that’s probably fine with Michigan and Illinois.

According to their most recent monthly data, our neighbors collectively brought in more than $400 million in recreational cannabis sales in April and March.

Michigan led the way last month with more than $276 million in adult-use sales, while medical marijuana brought in another $1.8 million.

Illinois posted just under $149 million in March, according to the Cannabis Regulation Oversight Office. More than $34 million of that came from out-of-state residents living in places like Indiana.

And soon another nearby state will join them. Ohio, where voters legalized marijuana in a ballot measure last year, could launch adult-use sales as soon as next month. Medical marijuana is already legal there.

Even Kentucky is getting in on the action. Medical marijuana will become legal there in January, and the state is “setting up the processes and procedures for medical cannabis businesses and registered cardholders,” the state cannabis website says.

Where Indiana stands on marijuana

All this happens while Indiana is stuck in the usual purgatory.

While other states are gobbling up millions of dollars, Indiana Attorney General Todd Rokita is among a group of other AGs pushing for a nationwide ban on Delta 8 THC: another compound in the cannabis plant that was federally legalized due to a loophole in the Farm Bill of 2018. .

Delta 8 produces similar effects to Delta 9 – the active ingredient in traditional marijuana – and briefly thrived on the Evansville market until Rokita issued an advisory in January 2023 claiming Delta 8 was still illegal here. That led to a crackdown last summer, with Vanderburgh County Prosecutor Diana Moers sending a letter to local cannabis stores saying those selling the product could face penalties as severe as a Level 2 misdemeanor.

Cannabis distributors are currently challenging Rokita’s opinion in court.

The Indiana General Assembly is equally inflexible. All of the marijuana bills proposed in the 2024 session failed, and this is unlikely to change in 2025.

Legalization advocates saw a glimmer of hope earlier this year when news leaked that the Drug Enforcement Agency could reclassify marijuana from a Schedule I drug, where it ranks alongside heroin and cocaine, to a Schedule III drug.

Gov. Eric Holcomb has long said he would never support legalization as long as marijuana remains Schedule I. But he will be gone in January, replaced by Republican Mike Braun, Democrat Jennifer McCormick or Libertarian Donald Rainwater.

But only Rainwater supports full legalization, the Indianapolis Star reported. McCormick is in favor of legalizing medical cannabis, while Braun’s position remains unclear.

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