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4/20 Day: According to an expert, Indiana’s marijuana stigma is fading



Indianapolis, Indiana – April 20, Saturday, is a significant day for individuals across the nation who endorse marijuana use.

“4/20 is the unofficial marijuana liberation day,” said Keith Johnson with Indiana NORML on “Indy Politics.” “It started back in the ’70s.”

To be more precise, 4/20 started in California when a group of high school students would skip class at 4:20 p.m. to search for an abandoned marijuana plant using a treasure map that the farmer had provided. Years after High Times magazine published its story, it became well-known, and as a result, the date and phrase “4/20” became widely used.

In Indiana, marijuana remains illegal, despite states throughout the country starting to relax their collective prohibition on the drug. Indiana NORML and Johnson encourage state legislators to legalize it.

“We had 8½ decades of propaganda (against pot) in Indiana,” Johnson said. “That a very difficult stigma to overcome to be quite honest, and much of the older generation still clings to that.”

Johnson thinks that there is still hope for supporters of marijuana because the stigma is “dying off.”
The fear of people seeking public office has been a contributing factor in the legalization of marijuana. He claims that to win elections, politicians have frequently been forced to stand on marijuana policy and argue that it should be outlawed, even if their true views may differ.

A recent Indy Politics survey reveals that a resounding 67% of conservative voters now favor legalizing marijuana, particularly for medical use.

“They no longer have to worry about not being elected for supporting cannabis legalization,” Johnson said. “That should alleviate a lot of fears. I hope a lot of our state politicians see that messaging.”

The majority of each governoral candidate’s followers are in favor of legalizing marijuana. Indeed, according to survey results, 82% of Curtis Hill’s followers favor legalizing marijuana. One of the candidates who has attacked marijuana the strongest has been Hill.

That number, according to Johnson, is rather telling. When does ignoring the message or disconnecting from it turn into neglect of the populace? Disregard for those who stand by you,” he said.

Indiana’s Republican governor, Eric Holcomb, has been a major barrier to marijuana legalization. He has often stated that unless marijuana is at least made legal at the federal level, he will not support it.



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