INDIANAPOLIS (AP) -- The proposed overhaul of Indiana's criminal sentencing laws could get tougher penalties for marijuana possession and dealing after Gov. Mike Pence said he wanted it stricter on low-level drug offenders.

A state Senate committee is expected to vote Thursday on increasing the felony and misdemeanor levels of the marijuana crimes.

That is part of a broad plan that aims to direct more people convicted of low-level felonies to work release and other local programs rather than sending them to prison. It also would require those convicted of the most serious crimes to spend more time in prison.

Pence told reporters last week that he believed the bill should send a message that the state is tough on drug dealers.

The House approved the bill by a wide margin last month.

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