Delaware Takes Cautious Approach With Marijuana Rules

Katelyn Baker

Well-Known Member
Delaware is not alone navigating the complicated history of prohibition and recent changing public opinion surrounding marijuana.

A Gallup poll showed that 58 percent of Americans believe marijuana use should be legal, compared to 1969 when 12 percent favored legalization.

Another poll found that 69 percent of Americans believe alcohol is more harmful to a person's health than marijuana, and 49 percent of Americans say they have tried marijuana.

This significant shift led Alaska, Colorado, Oregon and Washington to legalize marijuana for recreational and medical use. Overnight, entirely new industries and state revenue sources popped up.

In Colorado, sales of recreational and medical marijuana totaled nearly $1 billion in 2015. This month, the Oregon State Fairgrounds gave out blue ribbons for best cannabis plants.

Voters in five states will decide whether to legalize marijuana in November.

Almost half of the states, including Delaware, have taken a more conservative approach by either decriminalizing recreational marijuana, legalizing medical marijuana, or both.

As of December, Delaware law made possession for private use of a small amount of marijuana punishable by only a $100 civil fine — which can be paid like a traffic ticket.

Republican gubernatorial candidate Sen. Colin Bonini, R-Dover South, incited gasps on the Senate floor in June when he said he'd sponsor a bill to legalize marijuana, arguing the state's decriminalization law has nearly done so already.

Because Gov. Jack Markell made it clear he would not sign a legalization bill, advocates are setting their hopes on the next governor, whether it be Bonini, U.S. Congressman John Carney or retired state trooper Lacey Lafferty.

This slow, but steady process toward recreational legalization is leading to "under-the-table destigmatization," said Barret Michalec, assistant director of health research at the University of Delaware Center for Drug and Health Studies.

Destigmatization has done little to sway the Drug Enforcement Administration, which announced in early August that it would keep marijuana as a Schedule 1 drug, along with other illegal substances like heroin and ecstasy that have no medical value and a high potential for abuse.

The federal government has not aggressively pursued states that have either decriminalized or legalized medical marijuana, but reserves the right to do so if states do not properly regulate their programs.


News Moderator: Katelyn Baker 420 MAGAZINE ®
Full Article: Delaware Takes Cautious Approach With Marijuana Rules
Author: Jessica Masulli Reyes
Contact: Delaware Online
Photo Credit: Gillian Flaccus
Website: Delaware Online
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