Del. House Votes 26-14 To Advance Recreational Marijuana Bill (Part 1)

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Legislation to remove all penalties for an adult who possesses less than one ounce of marijuana has been approved in the Delaware House of Representatives.

The vote was 26-14 in favor of House Bill 371. The bill now goes to the State Senate. It is part of a two-pronged effort to legalize and regulate recreational marijuana use by adults in Delaware. The other measure, House Bill 372, would require three-fifths majority passage in each chamber due to its regulatory and taxation aspects.

According to the legislation: This Act also adds a provision to the Uniform Controlled Substances Act that provides that there will be no criminal or civil penalty for transfers of 1 ounce or less of marijuana between persons who are 21 years of age or older without remuneration.

The vote fell mainly along party lines in the Democratic-controlled House, although House Speaker Pete Schwartzkopf, D-Rehoboth Beach was a “no” vote. Republicans Michael Ramone and Michael Smith, both of New Castle County, voted “yes.”

“During this very involved process, we have heard from numerous members of the public – advocates, veterans, retired law enforcement officers, educators and even faith leaders – who have overwhelmingly voiced support for legalizing adult recreational marijuana,” State Representative Ed Osienski, D-Brookside said. “Delaware is more than capable of successfully enacting policies for safe and legal cannabis. I’m grateful to the House for passing this bill and look forward to continuing this effort until Delaware is poised to establish a new, legal industry in our state.”

“This is a historic day for the State of Delaware and Delawareans across our state who, for years, have overwhelmingly supported the legalization of marijuana,” State Senator Trey Paradee, D-Dover stated. “Today, my colleagues in the House achieved what many naysayers believed was impossible just a few years ago. I want to thank my colleagues in the House for passing legislation to finally rid ourselves of the penalties that have long been unjustly and inequitably applied to people of color, and taking what I hope will be another major step toward replacing the illegal marijuana market with a thriving industry that will create good-paying jobs for the residents of our state. I am fully committed to quickly passing House Bill 371 in the Senate and sending this groundbreaking legislation on to Governor Carney for his signature.”

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