On Saturday afternoon, a long, steady line of cars kept honking their horns each time they passed the Vigo County courthouse. They were hooting in support of a group of demonstrators. Outside the courthouse, more than 50 people were rallying for Indiana to legalize medical marijuana for legitimate patients. The rally was the effort of IndyCann Higher Society of Indiana.
The group, which hosted the rally as part of their county tour around the state, aims to influence both voters and legislators to approve medical cannabis in next year’s legislative session. IndyCann is visiting 92 counties in Indiana to rally support from as many people as possible. Founder of IndyCann, Bobbi Jo Young, is also its president.
According to Young, the series of demonstrations the group is embarking on is the most effective way to win people to the cause in a state is as conservative as Indiana. Addressing a throng of people from the courthouse steps, Young said, “We are fighting for our rights. We are fighting for our freedoms and we are doing it in the most positive way possible.”
She also explained the group’s motives, “Our movement is old school in that we think if you want to change the laws, you have to rally the people and go, with the people, to the politicians.” Although she confesses that some attending the rally are also fighting for recreational use of cannabis, she says that, for the time being, her group is focusing solely on legalizing medical marijuana.
“We are really trying to break the stigma and turn this fight into a professional medical interest,” Young explained, and it seems that someone important is listening to IndyCann’s message. At least one member of Indiana’s majority party, assistant majority whip and State Representative, Jim Lucas, a Republican from Seymour, intends introducing a bill in the next legislative session to address the use of medical pot.
According to Young, Lucas has been very forthright and upfront during conversations with IndyCann about its request for new legislation. He listens exclusively to facts, demands evidence, and leaves hearsay and opinions out of the conversation. “Nobody on this team is going to give you their opinion on medical cannabis, we are only going to give you facts,” Young reiterated.
“Facts are what change laws, so when I go and sit down and have lunch with Jim Lucas, facts are what he wants. He does not want my opinion, he only wants facts,” she explained. Young believes the state of Indiana is much closer to legalizing medical weed than most people realize, a change that she feels will assist patients to recover more comfortably from illnesses and manage their pain better.
Scott Cooksey, who attended the rally from Terre Haute, hopes that Young is correct about that, saying that his son is taking 18 pills to manage seizures and is in desperate need of another alternative. “My son needs the help of medical cannabis. We are out of options,” Cooksey claimed. “My wife and I believe that cannabis can and will help him.”
He admitted to being a staunch proponent of using medical marijuana for years already, and that he has high hopes for the capital to find a solution sooner rather than later. “I wish they had passed something yesterday,” Cooksey said laughing. “I just hope they try the medical marijuana and get my son off the poison he is on.”
Cooksey has been attending a number of rallies hosted by IndyCann, proving a prominent supporter of the group. He hopes that the widespread support the group is receiving will be sufficient at the statehouse to enact urgent and much-needed change for chronically ill patients suffering an array of conditions proven treatable by marijuana.
Cooksey concluded, “I hope they can give the legislators enough evidence to open their eyes to the evidence, and not the stigma that has been hung on medical cannabis over the years.”