Fishers business owners advocate for cannabis legalization


Cannabis is now legal either for medical or recreational purposes in all four states bordering Indiana, and while there have been attempts to change Hoosier law related to cannabis use, those efforts have yet to gain traction.

A couple of Fishers business owners hope that public support for cannabis legalization can change lawmakers’ minds.

Katie Wiley and Scott Moorehead operate Stash Ventures, which owns cannabis businesses in Michigan. They do some administrative work in Fishers, but the product side of the operation is kept completely out of state.

Moorehead said his family ties to Indiana run deep.

“My family has been business owners in Indiana since the 1930s,” he said, noting one of the firms is the electrical contracting — and now,wireless services — company Round Room, which is headquartered in Fishers.

Wiley said that while Stash has been successful in Michigan, they want to bring that economic success to Indiana, as well. She said they have worked with state lawmakers and were able to get sponsors in 2022 and this year for bills that would decriminalize cannabis. However, those bills were not picked up for a formal hearing.

Wiley said most Indiana residents favor legalization.

“There is good data that in the state (showing) constituents want legalized cannabis,” she said. “So, we’re trying to educate all the legislators.”

Wiley said a public campaign encouraging voters to advocate with lawmakers is a next step. Moorehead said he’d like people to do that even if they oppose legalization.

“No matter what your opinion is, contacting your representative and stating your opinion to have the discussion would be fantastic,” he said.

There has been some movement toward federal decriminalization of cannabis. However, Moorehead said it would benefit the state economically to legalize it before the feds.

“Today, because of the federal laws, if a state does choose to legalize cannabis in some way, that product has to be grown, processed, produced (in the state),” he said. “So it creates an entire infrastructure — jobs in farming, biology, chemistry, testing, regulation. That infrastructure is important to get set up ahead of federal legalization because once that happens, crossing state lines becomes an opportunity.”

Established businesses in neighboring states that already have that infrastructure would be able to take advantage of interstate commerce. Moorehead said Indiana would miss out on high-paying jobs that go with the cannabis industry.

“What you’re left with is retail,” he said. “You’ll have missed out on the opportunity to do the things that Hoosiers are really, really good at.”

Wiley added that legalizing cannabis provides an opportunity for the state to regulate it, and to learn from mistakes other states have made through the legalization process. She said that as a parent, she wants to make sure cannabis is properly regulated. But that can’t happen until it’s been legalized.

“By not acting, we’re behaving as though cannabis isn’t in the state,” she said. “It very much is.”

Indiana’s state government is controlled by Republican lawmakers. An email to the state GOP asking for comment regarding cannabis legalization was not answered. The governor’s press secretary responded to a request for comment with a short message stating, “If the governor releases a statement regarding this topic I will let you know.”