Legalize It, Say Delaware Marijuana Backers Of HB 110

Ron Strider

Well-Known Member
Advocates of a global movement to legalize marijuana urged dozens of supporters at a Rehoboth Beach march and rally to lobby state elected officials, especially those in Sussex County, to pass a measure that would legalize the herb in Delaware.

Passage of House Bill 110 would tax and regulate cannabis, which is legal for users with medical prescriptions but illegal for recreational users. Passage would save taxpayer dollars currently poured into law enforcement initiatives for arrests of users, generate a sustainable revenue source through taxation and boost business growth and job creation in the marijuana industry, said members of the Delaware Cannabis Advocacy Network that sponsored the Saturday, May 6 rally off the boardwalk in Rehoboth Beach.The Cannabis Bureau of Delaware was a co-sponsor.

"Cannabis is the safest and most therapeutic plant on the planet," said Zoe Patchell, president of the Delaware advocacy network, known as Delaware CAN. "Cannabis cures cancer based on 1976 and 1978 studies ... and they've know this for years. It reduces the size of tumor cells.

"But don't take my word for it – it's in the literature right over there," Patchell also said, urging rally attendees to browse literature on a display table at the Rehoboth Beach Bandstand.

The event, in its fourth year, supported the Global Cannabis March, or the Million Marijuana March staged in cities and towns around the world. It attracted well over 100 participants who marched in a light drizzle several blocks from Surfside Avenue to the bandstand.

On Wednesday, May 10, state legislators are expected to debate the bill that is now in discussion in the state Finance and Revenue Committee. It would also need senate approval, and the advocacy network is pushing for a final vote on the measure before the close of the June 30 fiscal year, advocates told the audience.

The movement to legalize marijuana has met most resistance among legislators in Sussex County, where lobbying efforts need concentration, Sybert said.

"In Sussex County, everybody is a 'no,'" he said, referring to elected officials. "We need Sussex County; all other counties are in favor of the bill. We need to get the word out in Sussex."

Rally speakers traveled to the resort town from across the mid-Atlantic and also included John Sybert, vice president of Delaware CAN, biochemist Maggie McDonald and the Rev. Aaron Appling of Victory Church and a member of the Community Voice Coalition.

The rally attracted both legal and recreational marijuana users, including April Anderson, a 72-year-old Newark wife and Lyme Disease sufferer whose prescription of a milligram-dose of cannabis oil twice a day "helps me sleep" and curbs her pain.

"For me, it was for sleep, and the point is, I can get off dangerous drugs that have side effects," she said. "It cut my sleeping pill usage in half. I take it for body wellness."

By contrast, 32-year-old Heather Fleetwood of Long Neck, a millennial, said she is a recreational user, while her companion, 35-year-old Daniel Lacy of Georgetown, uses marijuana to curb the side effects of heroin withdrawal.

"I've used medical marijuana to help me get off heroin," Lacy said. "It helped me with nausea and the psychological dependency. It takes you out of the pain state you're in."

McDonald told the audience that marijuana would cut down on the use of addictive painkillers known as opioids that are potentially life-threatening. "We want to reduce opioid use," she said. "We want cannabis as an alternative. It can help people in pain."

She wants Delaware to be a producer of research marijuana, and advocates the labeling of cannabis products for "responsible use and safe access," which she said would be included in HB 110.

Cynthia Ferguson, executive director and founder of Delaware NORML, which promotes recreational marijuana usage, invited march and rally participants to attend a cannabis social event on June 3 in Towson, Maryland.

"You can sit on the lawn and smoke a joint and nobody is going to bother you," said Ferguson, calling the gathering a Woodstock-type event. "Possession of an ounce of marijuana is a $100 ticket."


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Full Article: Legalize it, say Delaware marijuana backers of HB 110
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