INDIANAPOLIS – The Marion County Prosecutor’s office announced Monday the county will no longer prosecute simple possession of marijuana cases.
“This is something that has been on our minds and discussed internally for the last couple of years,” said interim prosecutor Ryan Mears. “We have discussed this issue with different law enforcement partners…we think this is going to have a number of benefits to the community.”
Mears says his office wants police officers to prioritize violent crime, and prosecuting minor marijuana cases takes away from that mission. He also pointed out that the prosecution of marijuana cases have had a disproportionate impact on people of color.
Possessing under one ounce classifies as a class B misdemeanor, which is why that amount was chosen. Possessing an ounce or more classifies for a dealing marijuana charge, which the county will continue to prosecute.
Marion County is the first in the state to take this action, but not everyone agrees with the move.
“I am concerned that this proclamation in Marion County will attract to Indianapolis people with a particular interest in communities where drug enforcement is lax,” said Indiana attorney general Curtis Hill. “It seems to me a curious strategy to put out a welcome mat for lawbreakers in a community already facing challenges related to crime, homelessness and other social problems stemming from drug abuse.”
In the video above, Hill shares more of his thoughts on the prosecutors’ decision, and discusses his view on the ongoing impeachment inquiry in Washington.
We also asked Hill about his own political future, as he awaits a disciplinary hearing later this month that could impact his ability to hold a law license. Hill would not comment when we asked about his potential bid for re-election. Party leaders have called for Hill’s resignation after he was accused of groping four women last summer.