(Chris Davis/Network Indiana) – Do you know the difference between decriminalizing and legalizing marijuana? Your chance to hear whether the three candidates for governor know their business on cannabis was Tuesday night in the second and final debate presented by the non-partisan Indiana Debate Commission.
Republican incumbent Gov. Eric Holcomb, Democratic challenger Dr. Woody Myers and Libertarian Donald Rainwater all gave answers that were typical of their party positions on cannabis and other issues, including jobs, internet access, racial injustice, whether vaccines should be mandated and whether the state should revisit Daylight Saving Time.
It is time to decriminalize the simple possession of marijuana in Indiana,” said Myers, former state health commissioner. “It makes no sense to be n the border between Indiana and Illinois and walk across the border and become a criminal.”
Gov. Holcomb was the odd man out on the issue, saying he believes Indiana does not have the luxury to decide what federal laws to ignore, and the he believes more research should be done on the medical use of cannabis. Both Rainwater and Myers said enough research has already been done. Rainwater said he believes decriminalizing all forms of cannabis could also help alleviate some of the racial biases in the justice system.
“We can also start being more aware of the disparities in regulations and laws that adversely affect minorities and minority opportunities,” said the Libertarian candidate. He criticized Holcomb’s idea to create a cabinet position on racial equity, calling it a “big government” solution.
Holcomb said he plans on putting someone in that position to oversee the state’s level of inclusion, but that his administration is also bringing in a third party to review each agency.
Myers said he doesn’t believe in the need for the cabinet position, either, and that each agency head should be accountable for inclusion and racial equity.
Vaccines should not be mandated, even when one is created for COVID, said Gov. Holcomb. “But, it should be encouraged when it’s safe and it will have to go through the proper approval from the federal government,” he said.
Rainwater said he is against any government mandate.
Myers avoided answering the question about whether someone should be required to take a vaccine.
“I’m hopeful when a Biden/Harris administration takes office and we have a new CDC and FDA director that one will be forthcoming,” he said. “I know that they’ll look at the research and they’ll follow the recommendations of the manufacturer and carefully look at any restrictions.”
The candidates were asked about jobs and how they might facilitate more Hoosiers going to work. Myers blamed the Republican president and governor for the disappearance of some manufacturing jobs, some that went away before COVID.
Holcomb said he believes Hoosiers need to “skill up” for high-paying jobs in community colleges and universities, so that Indiana can provide the workforce necessary to attract good companies in all sectors. Rainwater said he believes all workers are essential and shutting down the economy should never be an option.
All three men were invited to offer their position on whether Indiana should be on Eastern or Central time. Gov. Holcomb said he believes the issue is already settled. Myers said he’s willing to look at new data and opinions, but that it’s not a priority. Rainwater said he believes Hoosiers should drive the discussion.
All questions were submitted by Hoosiers to the Indiana Debate Commission.