Reduced penalties for pot find support but future still debatable



INDIANAPOLIS

The much anticipated Howey/DePauw Indiana Battleground Poll released recently was worth the wait, with its newsworthy revelation that the U.S. Senate race wasn’t shaping up the way it was anticipated.

The independent, nonpartisan poll — conducted by two of the best in the profession: Democrat Fred Yang and Republican Christine Matthews — showed Democrat Joe Donnelly surging ahead of his Republican opponent, Richard Mourdock.

In a “red” state like Indiana and in a race that’s attracted millions of dollars from outside groups (making it the most expensive Senate race in Indiana history), that’s big news.

But so too is something else that the pollsters found: significant support for decriminalizing possession of small amounts of marijuana.

The Howey/DePauw pollsters asked the question, because it’s an issue state legislators are likely to face in the next session.

Earlier this year, Republican state Sen. Brent Steele of Bedford, the rock-ribbed law-and-order chairman of the Senate’s Corrections, Criminal and Civil Matters Committee, came out in support of the idea.

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