Person

Fred Pfenninger

Occupation:

Founding Partner of Pfenninger & Associates law firm

Advocate for Legalizing Marijuana

Fred Pfeinninger is an Indianapolis lawyer and an activist for legalizing marijuana. He is the founding member of the law firm Pfenninger & Associates and also founded Indiana Republicans Against Marijuana Prohibition.

Background

Fred Pfenninger is an Indiana attorney and has practiced collections cases in federal courts and Indiana courts since the 1970s. [1] Pfenninger was a Marion County Republican Party precinct committeeman and began the organization Indiana Republicans against Marijuana Prohibition. He also led a shareholder resolution to try to force Eli Lilly and Company to support legalizing marijuana. [2]

Pfenninger is a graduate of University of Michigan Law School. He also earned an MBA at Harvard Business School. He was admitted to the bar in 1974 and was admitted to practice before the U.S. Supreme Court in 1980. His concentrations are in creditors’ rights, commercial collections and foreclosure law. [3]

Pfenninger is a member of several legal organizations, including the National Association of Retail Collection Attorneys, a member of Commercial Law League of America, and the vice president of the Indiana Creditors Bar Association. [4]

He is the founding partner in the firm Pfenninger & Associates in Indianapolis, established in 1992, which specializes in commercial law. [5]

Super Lawyers rated him one of the top-rated creditor debtor rights lawyers in Indianapolis for 2007, 2011 and 2018. [6]

Marijuana Activism

Pfenninger is a former diversification analyst with the Eli Lilly and Company pharmaceutical firm and owns 469 shares Eli Lilly valued at more than $50,000. He introduced a shareholder resolution in 2018 to press the company into advocating for medical marijuana. He talked specifically about the company’s own history with the product. The firm admitted it used cannabis in its products in the early 20th century when it was a legal controlled substance. [7]

Pfenninger said he does not use marijuana, but says most people assume he does because of his advocacy. [8]

He began public advocacy for marijuana legalization in 2010 after a professional friend was arrested for possession of marijuana. He has since jointed at least 40 Facebook groups that support some degree of relaxing legal restrictions on marijuana sale and use. He also had 17,500 bumper stickers printed that said, “MARIJUANA—Safer Than Alcohol.” [9]

Trump administration Vice President Mike Pence is a former governor of Indiana, and has favored tough laws criminalizing marijuana use. However, Pfenninger said that he asked Pence about marijuana legalization during a Washington Township Republican Dinner in 2016 before Pence was on the national ticket. Pfenninger recalled that Pence said “he wasn’t really in favor of it.” Pfenninger followed up with the governor, “Okay, but what about medical marijuana?” He recalled that Pence responded, “I’m not there yet. But I can see it.” [10]

References

  1. Odendahl, Marilyn. “Marion Superior Reminds Lawyers to not Monopolize Hearings.” The Indiana Lawyer. November 13, 2019. Accessed November 27, 2019. https://www.theindianalawyer.com/articles/marion-superior-reminds-lawyers-to-not-monopolize-hearings ^
  2. Wren, Adam. “Eli Lilly’s Hazy Memory.” Indianapolis Monthly. March 19, 2019. Accessed November 27, 2019. https://www.indianapolismonthly.com/longform/eli-lillys-hazy-memory-marijuana ^
  3. Fred Pfenninger. Attorney Information. Accessed November 27, 2019. http://www.indianacollections.com/attorneys.php ^
  4. Fred Pfenninger. Attorney Information. Accessed November 27, 2019. http://www.indianacollections.com/attorneys.php ^
  5. Pfenninger & Associates. Accessed November 27, 2019. http://www.indianacollections.com/ ^
  6. Fred Pfenninger. Super Lawyers. Accessed November 27, 2019. https://profiles.superlawyers.com/indiana/indianapolis/lawfirm/pfenninger-and-associates/2087a5f3-a897-4529-9aea-40ec1e543182.html?refPageViewId=53c84f1b14cbf0bd ^
  7. Wren, Adam. “Eli Lilly’s Hazy Memory.” Indianapolis Monthly. March 19, 2019. Accessed November 27, 2019. https://www.indianapolismonthly.com/longform/eli-lillys-hazy-memory-marijuana ^
  8. Wren, Adam. “Eli Lilly’s Hazy Memory.” Indianapolis Monthly. March 19, 2019. Accessed November 27, 2019. https://www.indianapolismonthly.com/longform/eli-lillys-hazy-memory-marijuana ^
  9. Wren, Adam. “Eli Lilly’s Hazy Memory.” Indianapolis Monthly. March 19, 2019. Accessed November 27, 2019. https://www.indianapolismonthly.com/longform/eli-lillys-hazy-memory-marijuana ^
  10. McClure, James. “A Closer Look at Mike Pence on Marijuana.” Civilized. August 1, 2016. Accessed November 27, 2019. https://www.civilized.life/articles/a-closer-look-at-mike-pence-on-marijuana/ ^
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