Another Recreational Marijuana Bill Introduced In Del. General Assembly

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A revised bill to allow recreational use of cannabis by adults in Delaware has been reintroduced into the General Assembly.

According to its supporters, the measure (HB 305) has some bipartisan-backed amendments that were introduced days before the previous bill stalled out last June. The Delaware Cannabis Advocacy Network Thursday said it was the best version of a legalization bill that has been introduced in Delaware.

Describing the legislation, Delaware CAN Executive Director Zoe Patchell said “it includes so many voices from those who have weighed in on this thoughtfully crafted and thoroughly examined legislation. Between ending the arrests, incorporating micro and social equity licenses to create an inclusive industry, and the newly included Justice Reinvestment Fund, this bill will benefit Delawareans in urban, suburban, and rural communities, from the bridge to the beaches.”  

“We heard the input from members and advocates and spent the legislative break working on compromises wherever possible, striving to build the best possible law,” Representative Ed Osienski, D-Brookside said. “It’s critical to note that support for adult recreational marijuana has been growing for years in Delaware and across the country. Other states have successfully enacted policies for safe and legal cannabis, and I believe we are more than capable of doing the same in the First State. I’m looking forward to advancing this bill and making Delaware the next state to legalize adult recreational marijuana.”

The House Democratic Caucus provided these details about the differences between this bill and the previous legislation:

The new measure varies from HB 150 in several key manners:

  • It incorporates six amendments filed with the original bill (HA 1, 2, 4, 5, 7 and 10).
  • It adds the requirement of a comprehensive business plan to the competitive scoring criteria for licenses.
  • It directs 7% of the marijuana tax revenue to a Justice Reinvestment Fund.
  • It removes expungement provisions, as they were rendered duplicative by the enactment of Senate Bills 111 and 112 last year.

The proposed Justice Reinvestment Fund would be administered by the Department of Justice and would be used to facilitate grants, contracts, services, or initiatives that focus on the following:

  • Restorative justice, jail diversion, workforce development, industry-specific technical assistance or mentoring services for economically disadvantaged persons in disproportionately impacted areas.
  • Addressing the underlying causes of crime, reducing drug-related arrests, and reducing the prison population in this state.
  • Creating or developing technology to assist with the restoration of civil rights and expungement of criminal records.

“Delaware NORML supports the changes included in the latest revision of the bill, especially the Justice Reinvestment Fund which aims to give back to the communities ravaged by this failed war on a plant,” Delaware NORMAL Executive Director Laura Sharer said. “We hope to see lawmakers come together this year to change Delaware’s outdated policy, which has harmed and continues to harm so many.”

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