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Sunday, July 21, 2019
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Gov. Holcomb with Clark County Sheriff Jamey Noel, who is also his reelection campaign chairman. Holcomb says he wants more medical research before he seeks a status change on marijuana reforms. (HPI Photo by Brian A. Howey)
Gov. Holcomb with Clark County Sheriff Jamey Noel, who is also his reelection campaign chairman. Holcomb says he wants more medical research before he seeks a status change on marijuana reforms. (HPI Photo by Brian A. Howey)
Saturday, July 20, 2019 11:17 AM

By BRIAN A. HOWEY

CHARLESTOWN, Ind. - Memo to State Rep. Jim Lucas, the First Church of Cannabis and the Rev. Bill Levin, and Hoosiers who seek to end marijuana prohibition in Indiana: It ain’t gonna happen here any time soon. While Indiana will likely be surrounded by states where marijuana will be recreationally legal (Illinois, Michigan and Ohio by 2020), Gov. Eric Holcomb made it clear in a Howey Politics Indiana interview that he is inclined to stick with the status quo until he has the necessary medical research.

Unlike other marijuana reform states, there is no organized lobby in place at the Statehouse to push the reforms. That has fallen on characters like Levin, who formed his church and is planning to seek the Libertarian Party nomination for governor in 2020. There is very little research. But there is public support. An October 2016 WTHR/Howey Politics Indiana  poll found that 73% of Hoosiers support the legalization of medical marijuana — including 82% of Democrats, 77% of independents, and 59% of Republicans. A Ball State Poll in 2017 revealed 39% back recreational marijuana. 

Toward the end of my 53-minute interview with Holcomb driving down I-65 as we passed by opioid-racked Austin, Ind., and Scott County, and into Clark County which has also been ground zero in the heroin epidemic, Holcomb made it clear he’s not inclined to consider legalization without a status change by the federal Food and Drug Administration. 

When I asked him if marijuana was properly designated as a “Schedule 1” drug under the Uniform Narcotics Act of 1932, placing it along side heroin and morphine, Holcomb deflected. “Not to be a blockhead about it, but I’ve shared this: With federal leadership, that it is illegal,” Holcomb said. “I have a hard time picking and choosing what laws to obey. I’ve taken a couple of oaths in life at upholding the law. Just because others are choosing not to, doesn’t make it right for me not to. Even as attractive financially as it might be, (that) doesn’t make it right. The hurdle we have to get over is there is very little American medical research on this drug.”

That was true in the 1930s when Harry J. Anslinger headed the Federal Bureau of Narcotics. Anslinger claimed, without any scientific research, that marijuana caused people to commit violent crimes and become overtly sexual. When the Marihuana Tax Act of 1937 was passed, the American Medical Association opposed, saying it inhibited prescribing physicians. Most Hoosiers don't believe marijuana is as impactful as heroin.

And it was true in January 2017 when the National Academy of Medicine convened a panel of 16 leading medical experts to analyze the scientific literature on cannabis. The report they prepared, which came out in January of 2017, runs 468 pages. Malcolm Gladwell, writing for The New Yorker, reported: It contains no bombshells or surprises, which perhaps explains why it went largely unnoticed. It simply stated, over and over again, that a drug North Americans have become enthusiastic about remains a mystery.


Holcomb said he wants access to more research. "I have said to our federal partners that we have one of the best medical schools in America, we have one of the best agriculture schools in America – at Purdue and IU – and I’ve talked to them," Holcomb explained.

  • REP. YOUNG TO POST $1M FOR QUARTER: Just days before he makes a presumptive Republican U.S. Senate bid official, U.S. Rep. Todd Young scorched the fundraising circuit, preparing to post $1,024,908 for the second quarter (Howey, Howey Politics Indiana).

     

    HARRISON QUALIFIES FOR INDY MAYORAL BALLOT: Rev. Charles Harrison is now prepared to throw an interesting wrench into the Indianapolis mayoral race (Howey Politics Indiana). Allies of the United Methodist pastor filed more than 6,600 signatures to gain ballot access as an independent last week. Sources with the Marion County Voter Registration have confirmed 3,200 signatures, with another 150 pages yet to be counted, meaning Harrison qualifies for ballot access.

     

    DAILY WIRE RESENT DUE TO TECHNICAL GLITCH: We are resending today’s HPI Daily Wire due to technical glitches. We apologize for the inconvenience.

     

    SANDERS SURGE WORRIES CLINTON CAMPAIGN: The ample crowds and unexpectedly strong showing garnered by Senator Bernie Sanders are setting off worry among advisers and allies of Hillary Rodham Clinton, who believe the Vermont senator could overtake her in Iowa polls by the fall and even defeat her in the nation’s first nominating contest there (New York Times).

     

    INDIANA TEACHER POOL DRYING UP; ‘POLITICIANS’ BLAMED: School leaders in south-central Indiana are reporting that the number of applicants they get for teaching positions has declined in recent years (Ladwig, Greensburg Daily News). They blame primarily state funding constraints, which depress teacher wages, and a blame-the-teachers mentality of politicians and the media, which is pushing teachers out of the profession and prompting fewer high school grads to consider teaching an attractive career. Budd said that the number of applicants has declined especially for math, sciences and foreign languages. “It has become a real struggle,” Budd said. “The pool of applicants is definitely dried up.”

     

    TEACHING LICENSES DOWN 88%: Annual state data reveal that the number of teaching licenses the state issues has fallen a whopping 88 percent in the last six years (Greensburg Daily News). According to the Indiana Department of Education, the state issued in the 2007/08 school year about 7,500 teaching licenses. In 2013/14, the most recent year for which data were available, the state issued just 934 licenses.

     

    GM REBUFFS FIAT/CHRYSLER MERGER: John Elkann, chairman of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV and scion of Italy’s Agnelli family, isn’t giving up on forging a partnership with General Motors Co. , despite being rebuffed by his Detroit rival twice in the past four years (Wall Street Journal).

     

    ZODY WANTS DETAILS ON CANCELED PORTER-NOVELLI CONTRACT: Indiana Democrats have sent the Republican Pence administration a formal request to release documents showing what the state got for its money when it hired a New York public relations firm to deal with the damage inflicted by a new religious objections law (Associated Press). Indiana Democratic Party Chairman John Zody said Monday that he wants Gov. Mike Pence's office to release contracts, messages and emails related to the agreement with Porter Novelli.

     

    HPI DAILY ANALYSIS: Hoosier taxpayers paid $365,000 to the New York PR firm Porter Novelli to repair the state’s post RFRA damage. We ought to be able to see what we paid for. Remember, Public Servants (this includes you, IEDC), you work for us, the taxpayers. - Brian A. Howey

     

    CLICK HERE TO READ TODAY'S FULL HPI DAILY WIRE.

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  • Pence vows to return to the moon on 50th anniversary
    "Standing before you today, I am proud to report, at the direction of the president of the United States of America, America will return to the moon within the next five years, and the next man and the first woman on the moon will be American astronauts. We’re going back." - Vice President Mike Pence, speaking at Cape Canaveral observing the 50th anniversary of NASA astronaut and Purdue graduate Neil Armstrong walking on the moon. Pence is seen here with astronaut Buzz Aldrin, who followed Armstrong on to the moon surface on July 20, 1969.
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  • Epstein, Acosta and the perversion of power
    For those of you wondering why Labor Secretary Alex Acosta resigned Friday despite President Trump's assertion that he is a "great labor secretary," spend 15 minutes to read Miami Herald reporter Julie K. Brown's "Perversion of Justice: How a future Trump Cabinet member gave a serial sex abuser the deal of a lifetime." You'll learn that District Attorney Acosta bowed to the demands of pedophile Jeffrey Epstein's all-star legal team, cut "an extraordinary plea agreement that would conceal the full extent of Epstein’s crimes and the number of people involved." This is about a lurid a tale of crime and power as I've ever read. While this was going on, Epstein's enforcers were tracking down witnesses and journalists, issuing threats.

    Brown writes: "Not only would Epstein serve just 13 months in the county jail, but the deal — called a non-prosecution agreement — essentially shut down an ongoing FBI probe into whether there were more victims and other powerful people who took part in Epstein’s sex crimes." We are learning that Epstein's circles included dozens if not hundreds of underage girls, recruiters, presidents, princes and the rich and famous.

    Florida State Sen. Lauren Book, asks: “Where is the righteous indignation for these women? Where are the protectors? Who is banging down the doors of the secretary of labor, or the judge or the sheriff’s office in Palm Beach County, demanding justice and demanding the right to be heard?"

    Of course President Trump said of Epstein in 2002, “I’ve known Jeff for fifteen years. Terrific guy. He’s a lot of fun to be with. It is even said that he likes beautiful women as much as I do, and many of them are on the younger side." Wink-wink. That was three years before Trump's infamous Access Hollywood comment (if you're rich and famous, "you can grab them by their pussy") and five years before Acosta's plea deal with Epstein. It begs the question, What would Mother think?  - Brian A. Howey, publisher
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