Group Rallies For Reform Of Marijuana Laws

Katelyn Baker

Well-Known Member
Beth Wilson stood on the sidewalk on the south side of the Porter County Courthouse along Indiana Avenue on Saturday holding a sign that said, "Illegal patient."

She wore a gray tank top that read "Support Medical Marijuana" and waved as drivers honked. Wilson and 20 or so other people held signs and waved banners in support of relaxing state laws against marijuana.

Wilson, of Hobart, who brought a handful of friends with her to the small rally, said she's had epilepsy for much of her life. She takes cannabinoid, one of the active components of marijuana, in an attempt to alleviate her symptoms and get off the prescription medication she takes to try to control sometimes severe seizures.

"Epilepsy drugs are nasty, horrible and awful," she said, adding she receives the cannabinoid by mail from Denver.

The rally was sponsored by Higher Fellowship, an Indianapolis-based nonprofit working on loosening the state's marijuana laws, first by legalizing medical marijuana and, in the long term, legalizing the drug completely, said co-founders Bobbie Young and David Phipps.

Higher Fellowship, which incorporated a few months ago, holds regular rallies in Marion County and has held one in Tippecanoe County. That sparked a federal lawsuit against the county by the Indiana chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union after commissioners denied permission for a second rally.

Higher Fellowship put out a call for communities that wanted to host rallies, Phipps said, and Porter County responded.

"We really want people to know it's going to take citizen participation to get this done," Phipps said, adding organizers have been meeting with state officials, including State Sen. Karen Tallian, D-Ogden Dunes.

While Young said Higher Fellowship is pushing for full legalization of marijuana, the group, which has members across the state, wants Indiana to allow medical marijuana first. So far, 25 states allow the use of medical marijuana, including Illinois and Michigan.

"Medical usage would be the most important. This is a safe alternative that isn't a gateway (to other drugs) and doesn't lead to the same problems" as opioid prescriptions, which can lead to addiction, Phipps said.

Nick Dovellos, president and founder of the Northwest Indiana Chapter of the National Organization for the Repeal of Marijuana Laws, said the rally was a way to raise awareness and help get the new NORML chapter off the ground.

"I think in Indiana the better question should be, 'Why are we putting people in jail for marijuana?'" said Dovellos, a Highland native now living in Valparaiso, adding NORML's members believe marijuana should be treated like alcohol.


News Moderator: Katelyn Baker 420 MAGAZINE ®
Full Article: Group Rallies For Reform Of Marijuana Laws
Author: Amy Lavalley
Contact: 1-800-874-2863
Photo Credit: Kenzo Tribouillard
Website: Chicago Tribune
Top Bottom