William Tanoos, Democratic candidate for Congress in Indiana’s 8th District, has come out in favor of the legalization of marijuana.
His opponent, incumbent U.S. Rep. Larry Bucshon, R-Newburgh, made it clear he remains opposed.
Tanoos, a Terre Haute attorney, has stated his position in a video on his campaign website in which he expressed the belief the action would help fight the opioid crisis and provide a boost to Hoosier farmers.
“Taxing and regulating [marijuana] is the safe and fiscally responsible thing to do,” he added. “It will alleviate the burdens of our criminal justice system.”
Tanoos concluded the 30-second video, produced as a campaign commercial that also appears on YouTube, by saying legalizing marijuana could help a veteran and is “simply … the right thing to do.”
In an interview this week, he called marijuana legalization “a matter of common sense policy.”
In states where marijuana has been legalized, such as Colorado, “it’s been successful in curbing opioid addiction and generating cash revenue,” Tanoos said.
In 2017, taxes, licenses and fees on marijuana totaled more than $247 million in the Centennial State, according to online records of the Colorado Department of Revenue.
Since he released the video about one month ago, Tanoos said response has been “overwhelmingly supportive” from “people of all stripes.”
Most of the 48 comments posted on Tanoos’ Facebook page since the video first appeared have been favorable.
A poll released in April by Quinnipiac University found 63 percent of Americans favor marijuana legalization.
Indiana legalized cannabis oil this year and a state legislative panel is studying marijuana legalization.
Saying past U.S. drug policy “has failed,” Tanoos has suggested tax revenues from the sale of marijuana could help fund public schools, addiction treatment and health care.
A spokesman for Bucshon’s campaign provided a statement saying that, as a physician, the Congressman opposes the broad legalization of marijuana use.
“The scientific evidence is clear that this would not be in the best interests of Hoosiers and all Americans alike,” the statement said. “Research gathered by the National Institute on Drug Abuse suggests that cannabis use, especially in teenagers and young adults, has a negative affect on cognitive thinking, memory, and learning functions and can lead to substance use disorder.”