Indiana State Police Superintendent Paul Whitesell

In a meeting before local lawmakers the head of the Indiana State Police said that if it was up to him, he would personally choose to legalize and regulate marijuana. From WFPL:

When asked about the drug in a budget committee meeting, [Indiana State Police] Superintendent Paul Whitesell said he’s spent some 40 years trying to enforce various marijuana laws.

“It’s here, it’s going to stay, there’s an awful lot of victimization that goes with it. If it were up to me, I do believe I would legalize it and tax it, particularly in sight of the fact that several other states have now come to that part of their legal system as well,” he said.

The speed at which both public opinion and the politics surrounding marijuana legalization have changed in the past several years amazes even me. Not too long ago a frank admission like this from a top law enforcement official in a Republican-leaning state would have been almost unheard of; now it barely registers as a news story.

In a relatively short time marijuana legalization has gone from a fringe idea to a legitimate policy option. When voters in Colorado and Washington State chose to adopted marijuana legalization, it gave politicians and officials around the country political cover to openly discuss it as a serious option. Whitesell directly citing the recently approved initiatives in his testimony shows what an important role these measures played in changing the national discussion.