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Indiana Democrats push cannabis legalization, including ad from Senate candidate McDermott

Lauren Chapman

The Indiana Democratic Party is launching a statewide tour to promote cannabis legalization.

And coinciding with the launch on 4/20 – an unofficial weed holiday – Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Tom McDermott released an ad in which he smokes a joint.

The tour launch event included several veterans groups, which have been among the chief voices calling for at least legalization of cannabis for medicinal use. Veteran Destiny Scott Wells, a Democratic candidate for Secretary of State, said she sees an opportunity for Hoosier businesses and farmers.

“Indiana is watching easy money leave the state because we’re letting outdated ideologies and opinions on marijuana come before a revenue source for the state,” Wells said.

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McDermott admitted he was nervous filming the commercial – which was shot in Illinois, where cannabis is legal. And he said while cannabis legalization isn’t the most important issue facing Hoosiers, it’s something he said needs to be fixed.

“It should be treated like alcohol," McDermott said. "We don’t advocate using it before work, at work, obviously … we don’t think children under the age of 21 should be able to access it, either.”

Statehouse Republicans have refused to even hear legislation on cannabis legalization. And Gov. Eric Holcomb has repeatedly said he wants the federal government to act first.

Contact reporter Brandon at or follow him on Twitter at @brandonjsmith5.

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Brandon Smith is excited to be working for public radio in Indiana. He has previously worked in public radio as a reporter and anchor in mid-Missouri for KBIA Radio out of Columbia. Prior to that, he worked for WSPY Radio in Plano, Illinois as a show host, reporter, producer and anchor. His first job in radio was in another state capitol, in Jefferson City, Missouri, as a reporter for three radio stations around Missouri. Brandon graduated from the University of Missouri-Columbia with a Bachelor of Journalism in 2010, with minors in political science and history. He was born and raised in Chicago.