Marijuana is still illegal in Indiana, both for medical and recreational states. So far, Indiana has not joined the growing number of states that are decriminalizing pot. However, some prosecutors are changing the way they approach marijuana cases.
Marion County’s top prosecutor, Ryan Mears, recently announced that his department would no longer prosecute certain simple marijuana possession charges. Effectively immediately, the county will not prosecute possession charges against defendants who are found in possession of less than one ounce of marijuana. Mears said his office will continue to prosecute in cases involving larger amounts.
Some police organizations and other groups protested the policy change, but others praised it, saying it will free up resources to prosecute defendants accused of more serious charges, including violent crime charges.
One important point that gets lost in these discussions is that marijuana possession remains illegal under Indiana law. Possession of under 30 grams can be treated as a Class A misdemeanor. A second offense can be treated as a felony. Likewise, marijuana possession is illegal under federal law.
This means people may not face prosecution on charges of small amounts of marijuana in Marion County, but they might if they are arrested outside of the county, or if they face other state or federal charges. It’s possible that a person who is being prosecuted on other charges may see a low-level possession charge added to their indictment.
Everyone accused of drug crimes deserves a defense. A defense lawyer can advise clients on the best strategies for protecting their rights and their futures.