Delaware Decriminalizes Marijuana
Governor Jack Markell of Delaware signed a law Thursday night that decriminalizes the possession and private use of up to an ounce of marijuana.
The law will take effect in six months, and passed the Senate 12-9, not one Republican voted in favor.
The bill was introduced by Representative Helene Keeley, and will make the criminal penalties that adults face for cannabis possession similar to that of a traffic ticket.
“Law enforcement officials will be able to spend more time addressing serious crimes instead of arresting and prosecuting adults for simple marijuana possession,” wrote Robert Capecchi, deputy director of state policies for the Marijuana Policy Project in a statement.
He added,”States around the country are rolling back their outdated marijuana prohibition policies. We’re seeing rapid progress from coast to coast, and we do not expect it to slow down anytime soon.”
Republican State Senator Carl Bonini sees this law as less than wise, telling DelawareOnline, “This is a vote we’re going to really, really regret. Would you want your kid smoking weed? I think the answer is overwhelmingly no.”
Under current Delaware law, an individual could face up to three months in jail for possession of up to an ounce of cannabis.
Delaware police organizations have also shown opposition to the bill, with Delaware State Police Sgt. Lance Skinner testifying in a committee that, “Drug dealers are saying ‘bring it on, pass the bill.”
Delaware joins the District of Columbia and 19 states that replaced jail time for simple marijuana possession with civil fines.