In 2019, I announced that possession of one ounce or less of marijuana under my administration would no longer be criminally prosecuted.
This decision was made as one based first and foremost on fairness. It was also based on compassion, knowing that veterans and individuals with medical concerns have asked for marijuana to be available for the treatment of a variety of health concerns.
It’s no secret that the enforcement of marijuana offenses has disproportionately impacted people of color across America—Indianapolis is no exception. Despite marijuana’s similar usage rates among white people and black people, black people are four times more likely to be arrested for marijuana possession.
Not charging for small possession of marijuana has allowed us to reallocate team members and resources to make our community safer and reduce barriers for those returning to society after experiencing the criminal justice system. The savings realized from ending these prosecutions go beyond the prosecutor’s office, reducing the jail population, eliminating court hearings, and leaving officers available to address more serious needs.
As your prosecutor, addressing violent crime and ensuring justice for victims in Marion County will continue to be my focus. My administration believes our agency’s resources should reflect these priorities.
Far too often, marijuana possession arrests put individuals into the system who otherwise would not be. You should not be treated like a criminal for using marijuana. It’s that simple.