Indiana Police Leader “Philosophically” Backs Pot Legalization, Backtracks


Paul Whitesell, superintendent of the Indiana State Police, told the State Budget Committee yesterday, “If it were up to me, I do believe I would legalize [marijuana] and tax it.” The Indianapolis Star says that later in the day, after news of his comments spread, the Indiana State Police issued a statement describing Whitesell's comments as a “philosophical” opinion, not an official one.

“Although the superintendent personally understands the theoretical argument for taxation and legalization, as a police officer with over 40 years of experience he does not support the legalization of marijuana,” the statement said. Whitesell is the latest in series of state officials in recent months to bring attention to the issue of decriminalizing or lessening penalties for marijuana possession. Robert Dion, a political science professor at the University of Evansville, said that while there is a shift in the national attitude toward marijuana, he doesn't think conservative Indiana will be among the leaders in easing laws against pot.

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