first scale, House bill 1which would legalize cannabis for adults, the Senate passed by a vote of 16-4 House Bill 2, legislation to establish a framework for regulating recreational marijuana sales, passed by a vote of 15 to 5. If they become laws, the bills would make Delaware the 22nd state in the union to legalize adult use of cannabis.
The bills are now heading to the desk of Delaware Gov. John Carney, who last year vetoed legalizing adult use of cannabis, making him the only Democratic governor in the country to take such a step. The state House of Representatives then failed to override the veto, leaving lawmakers to try again during the current legislative session. But this year, both houses of the Delaware legislature passed bills with veto-proof majorities, making final approval of bills with or without Carney’s signature all but guaranteed.
Cannabis policy reform marches forward
neighbouring countries New Jersey And Maryland He also passed legislation to legalize the use of cannabis by adults, making Delaware one of the few remaining in the Northeast to end marijuana prohibition. After the Senate voted Tuesday to legalize the bills, Brian Vicente, co-founder of the cannabis and drug law firm Vicente LLP, hailed the new progress of the cannabis policy reform movement in the United States.
Vicente wrote in an email to High times. For many years, rationing was considered a West Coast phenomenon, but now the East Coast is following suit. While we’re still a long way from getting cannabis legal from Florida to Maine, Delaware is cementing the East Coast as a region that turns its back on marijuana prohibition. ”
However, neither bill passed Tuesday included restorative justice provisions to overturn previous convictions for cannabis-related offenses such as those included in many states’ marijuana legalization plans in recent years. Natalie Papillion, director of operations for the Last Prisoner Project, a nonprofit group dedicated to the release of all cannabis prisoners, has called for no expungement measures in Delaware’s marijuana legalization plan.
Legalization alone does not heal the wounds of prohibition. “True justice requires legislation that provides standard liquidation and sentencing for those affected,” she wrote in a statement. High times. “It is disappointing that the State of Delaware has ignored the opportunity to begin to repair these damages by failing to incorporate retroactive relief measures into this bill.”
Legalization has broad public support in Delaware
Polling in Delaware It shows that nearly three-quarters of adults in the state support legalizing marijuana, while only 18% said cannabis should remain illegal. Nearly nine in 10 Democratic respondents said they approve of legalizing cannabis, while 73% of independent voters also said they support ending marijuana prohibition in the state. Less than half (47%) of Republicans say cannabis should remain illegal, while 42% of GOP respondents support legalization.
“With this latest vote, the fight to legalize cannabis in Delaware is nearing the finish line. Cannabis policy reform has had widespread support among Delaware residents for years. Meanwhile, neighboring states have already made a move to legalize cannabis, “It’s encouraging to see the legislature advance these bills with a no-veto majority,” said Olivia Naugle, senior policy analyst at the Marijuana Policy Project, in a statement from the cannabis reform group. We hope Governor Carney will heed the will of the people and allow Delaware to become the 22nd state to legalize cannabis. Any further delay in legalizing cannabis would be detrimental to the state.”
Legalizing cannabis in Delaware could also provide additional support to efforts to legalize cannabis at the federal level, Attorney Vicente said, noting that state lawmakers are increasingly in favor of reform.
“More importantly, after this bill is passed, Delaware will send two US Senators and one House member to Washington, D.C., with a clear mandate to pass federal reform,” he said. “Delaware is an example of a relatively new direction in cannabis reform, with an adult use law passed through the legislature rather than by popular vote.”
The legislation is now headed to the governor’s office for consideration. Ahead of Tuesday’s vote in the Senate, Carney spokeswoman Emily Hirschman said in a statement that the governor “continues to have strong concerns about the unintended consequences of legalizing marijuana for recreational use in our state, especially with regard to the effects on our youth and highway safety.”
“He knows that others have honest disagreements about the matter.” she added. “But we don’t have anything new to share today about how the governor would act on HB 1 and HB 2 if they got into his office.”