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Indiana cannabis reform advocates hope for progress in 2023, even if incremental

A still image from an on-camera interview of Justin Swanson, president of the Midwest Hemp Council. Swanson is a White man with dark hair, wearing a suit and tie.
Alan Mbathi
IPB News
Midwest Hemp Council President Justin Swanson is a veteran of the Indiana Statehouse, having lobbied there for years.

Advocates for cannabis legalization are making a renewed push at the Statehouse in 2023. And for some, the goal is progress of any kind – even if incremental.

Justin Swanson is president of the Midwest Hemp Council, a part of Growing Indiana Together, a cannabis reform group. He’s urging Hoosiers to contact their state legislators and tell them that legal cannabis, in some form, is a top priority.

“We have a lot of momentum – not only because of new lawmakers coming in but because voters are getting more and more vocal about what they’re expecting from their legislators,” Swanson said.

READ MORE: How do I follow Indiana’s legislative session? Here’s your guide to demystify the process

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Swanson is a Statehouse veteran, having lobbied there for years. He’s keeping his expectations realistic – he wants at least a committee hearing on cannabis reform.

“I’m not saying we have all the answers today, but we do need to start having those discussions in a public setting so we can identify where the rubs are, the frictions are, and take care of them in the bill,” Swanson said.

Legislation is being filed in both chambers, by lawmakers of both parties, that deal with aspects of cannabis reform.

Contact reporter Brandon at bsmith@ipbs.org or follow him on Twitter at @brandonjsmith5.

Brandon Smith has covered the Statehouse for Indiana Public Broadcasting for more than a decade, spanning three governors and a dozen legislative sessions. He's also the host of Indiana Week in Review, a weekly political and policy discussion program seen and heard across the state. He previously worked at KBIA in Columbia, Missouri and WSPY in Plano, Illinois. His first job in radio was in another state capitol - Jefferson City, Missouri - as a reporter for three stations around the Show-Me State.