The Indiana House Public Health Committee Wednesday unanimously backed creating a summer study committee to look at legalizing marijuana for medicinal purposes.

State Representative Matt Lehman of Berne sponsored the measure which passed 11-0.

Lehman says, while he is still skeptical,  it was time to have a real, honest debate about cannabis and whether it has any medicinal benefit.

House Resolution 2 calls on the federal government to make marijuana a schedule 2 drug as opposed to schedule 1 which means it has no medical value and highly addictive like heroin;  making it a schedule 2 drug would allow studies to be done.   The measure would also study the impact of medicinal marijuana on public safety, the workforce, and tax revenue.  

Twenty-nine states have legalized marijuana for medicinal purposes, even though the drug is still illegal at the federal level.

Lehman told his fellow lawmakers he wanted to have a study and let the facts go where they may.  He says his attitude over marijuana has changed over the years and thinks the matter is worth a review.

The measure now goes to the full House.  Because it is a resolution, it does not need to go to the Senate.  The State Medical society, Hospital Association and Chamber of Commerce all testified in favor of the resolution. 

Lawmakers are also considering a proposal by State Representative Jim Lucas which would legalize marijuana for medicinal purposes.