JEFFERSON — Some Indiana police officers are reporting that they're seeing an increase in marijuana products, including pot-laced edibles and vaping devices, coming from states where marijuana has been legalized to one degree or another.
State Police Sgt. Carey Huls said authorities are observing an increase of specialty marijuana products coming from states such as California or Colorado with established laws permitting their use, the News and Tribune reported.
"It's not uncommon to see those. We're just concerned for the safety of everybody, especially when you see something packaged in a way that might introduce younger people to it," Huls said. "It's a dangerous product — many people disagree and say marijuana is very safe, but many of these products (are) not regulated."
Indiana borders three states with some legal approval of the drug, including two — Michigan and Illinois — that have legalized it for recreational use.
Ohio is one of 22 states that only permit the drug's medicinal usage, but Indiana and Kentucky still have laws criminalizing any possession of the drug.
Mark Palmer, police chief of Clarksville, said he's noticed a surge in marijuana over the past few years.
"It started small and it's escalated, but with more states (legalizing) marijuana, we've definitely felt the effects here," he said.
In November, Clarksville Police Detective Joel DeMoss spearheaded an investigation with the Southern Indiana Drug Task Force that resulted in the arrest of two suspects and the confiscation of $1.7 million in cash and $1.5 million in drugs, including more than 100 pounds (45 kilograms) of marijuana, 15,000 marijuana vape pens and 4 pounds (1.8 kilograms) of THC wax.
Indiana lawmakers have proposed marijuana legislation in the General Assembly in recent years, but none of the proposals advanced. Republican Gov. Eric Holcomb said this year that he tried marijuana as a college student, but that he opposes its legalization in Indiana.
State Rep. Rita Fleming, of Jeffersonville, said she'd like to first evaluate how things go in states like Colorado before deciding whether Indiana should relax its restrictions.
"I don't find that to be terribly controversial," she said. "But on the other hand, to allow more widespread use of marijuana, I'm not saying it's a bad thing, but I do want to look at more data."
Information from: News and Tribune, Jeffersonville, Ind., http://www.newsandtribune.com