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Amid the fanfare of becoming the first state to legalize recreational use of marijuana for non-medical customers, Colorado appears to be leading an inexorable trend toward relaxing pot laws that'€™s taking place in all of the United States...EXCEPT Indiana. Because of laws requested and signed into law by Gov. Mike Pence, Hoosiers actually have to deal with even stricter laws and penalties.


In a nutshell, Pence and the ultraconservative, GOP-controlled legislature revised reforms last year to actually increase possession from a misdemeanor to a felony. Ironically, these changes were initially intended to lessen marijuana penalties. During the debate, the Governor said he’s interested in reducing prison populations. "I think we need to focus on reducing crime not reducing penalties," Pence said.

Apparently, the Governor was not swayed by the statement made in 2012 by the head of the Indiana State Police.


While Pence remains resolute in his plans to clamp down on pot, some folks suggest that his motives may be laced with unethical and ulterior motives. From the Daily Kos, a diarist writes that Pence favors stricter penalties because it helps fill the beds in the state’s corporate prison system, whose parent company (the GEO Group) is a huge campaign donor.

“The Indiana governor wants to make possession of small amounts of marijuana a felony because, apparently, we aren't nearly hard enough on those non-violent pot smokers. Or something. Lurking beneath the surface is an insidious actor. The unmentioned hand of political influence guides his actions, as prison corporations like GEO own their candidates and wreck state criminal codes.”

According to followthemoney.org, GEO contributed $12,500 dollars in 2012 to the Pence gubernatorial campaign, and nearly $68,000 dollars to campaigns statewide. From the Daily Kos:

“That (campaign) contribution made GEO one of Pence's top 30 corporate contributors, ranking in front of US Steel Corp, Caterpillar, and Koch Industries.”

If these assertions on Pence’s motives are true, then this information serves as one more contemptuous affirmation that the so-called ‘war on drugs’ is nothing more than a huge money-making scam for corporations and the political sellouts who serve at their beck and call.

Originally posted to joelal on Thu Jan 09, 2014 at 08:33 PM PST.

Also republished by Indianapolis Kossacks.

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