News and Tribune

March 28, 2013

Senate panel backs tougher marijuana penalties


The Associated Press

INDIANAPOLIS — A legislative committee has backed tougher penalties for marijuana possession and dealing in a proposed overhaul of Indiana’s criminal sentencing laws.

The state Senate’s criminal law committee voted 8-1 Thursday to make the changes a week after Gov. Mike Pence questioned whether the plan was strict enough on low-level drug offenders.

The changes increase the felony and misdemeanor levels of the marijuana crimes, with longer possible prison sentences for those convicted.

The committee also voted to advance the overall plan that aims to direct more people convicted of low-level felonies to work release and other local programs rather than sending them to prison. It also would require those convicted of the most serious crimes to spend more time in prison.