Delaware lawmakers renew efforts to legalize cannabis

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It is now an annual ritual. Last week, Delaware Democratic lawmakers introduced two bills “to legalize and create a recreational cannabis industry in Delaware.”

The biggest obstacle for these Democratic representatives is none other than the Democratic governor of the state, John Carney, who has long opposed the legalization of cannabis and who year after year thwarts the efforts of his peers to end cannabis. prohibition of cannabis.

Last year, John Carney vetoed a bill that would have legalized cannabis in the state. Despite holding a majority in every chamber of the state General Assembly, Democratic lawmakers have failed to override the veto.

“The legalization bill would, among other things, remove all penalties for possession of one ounce or less of cannabis by someone 21 or older and ensure there are no criminal penalties or civil for unremunerated transfers of one ounce or less of cannabis between persons age 21 or older,” Mr. Carney said in a statement following his veto.

“I recognize the positive effect cannabis can have for people with certain health conditions, and for this reason, I continue to support the medical cannabis industry in Delaware,” he continued. “I supported the decriminalization of cannabis because I agree that individuals should not be imprisoned solely for the possession and private use of a small amount of cannabis – and today, thanks to the Delaware decriminalization law, they are not. »

“That said, I do not believe that promoting or expanding cannabis use is in the best interests of the State of Delaware, especially our youth,” Carney added. “Questions about the long-term health and economic impacts of recreational cannabis use, as well as serious law enforcement issues, remain unanswered. »

Democrats who support the two bills introduced in the state House last week hope that Mr. Carney will eventually change his mind.

“I hope that an open and ongoing dialogue with the governor’s office will avoid a veto,” said the Delaware News Journal Democratic Representative Ed Osienski, one of the authors of the legislation. “I have more support from my members (…) for a cancellation of the veto, but I hope it will not come to that. »

According to the outlet, a “spokeswoman for Carney said Friday that the governor’s views on cannabis have not changed. »

According to Delaware News Journal, the bill to remove all penalties for possession “would require a simple majority or 21 votes. »

The other bill would “create a framework to regulate the cultivation, sale and possession of weed”, essentially treating weed like alcohol, and would require “a three-fifths vote because it deals with revenue and taxation”, reports the Delaware News Journal.

The measures also include social equity provisions aimed at increasing opportunities in the new cannabis industry for people from communities that have historically been targeted by anti-drug policies.

If legalized, Delawarens would buy cannabis from licensed shops. The bill would allow up to 30 retail licenses to be distributed within 16 months of the legislation taking effect.

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