The Delaware General Assembly convened to kick off its 2019 legislative session today! Several new lawmakers were elected on Election Day, and popular support for legalization continues to grow.
Ending prohibition in 2019 would put an end to the underground marijuana market and reduce the number of marijuana-related arrests. The sooner the state acts, the sooner it will be able to generate millions of dollars in revenue.
You can also take action and show your support by attending Delaware Cannabis Advocacy Network’s Citizens’ Cannabis Lobby Day 19. Register to attend here.
When: Thursday, January 10, 2019 — 10:30 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.
Where: Legislative Hall, 411 Legislative Avenue, Dover, DE 19901
It is important legislators hear from as many constituents as possible. Contact your lawmakers today and mark your calendars for Citizen’s Lobby Day 19. Then, please forward this message to your network in Delaware.
Together, we can end prohibition in 2019!
Delaware’s General Election Day is less than two weeks away! Now’s a perfect time to study up on where your candidates stand on legalizing and regulating cannabis.
Our allies at the Delaware Cannabis Advocacy Network have put together a comprehensive state legislative voter guide with the results of their candidate surveys and incumbents’ voting records.
Check it out, share it on social media, and don’t forget to vote if you’re able to!
Please also consider stepping up your involvement by volunteering for a supportive candidate, making a donation, and/or attending a candidate forum to ask about the issue.
Here are a handful of competitive races where candidates differ on cannabis prohibition:
- House District 12 (Hockessin, Greenville): Krista Griffith (D) supports legalizing and regulating cannabis, while incumbent Rep. Deborah Hudson (R) voted against medical cannabis, decriminalization, and legalizing and regulating cannabis.
- House District 21 (Pike Creek Valley): Rep. Michael Ramone (R) voted against legalization and regulation and replied in response to DCAN’s survey that he is undecided. Challenger Stephanie Barry (D) is supportive.
- House District 22 (Hockessin): Guillermina Gonzalez (D) supports legalizing and regulating cannabis, while Michael Smith (R) is opposed.
- House District 36 (Milford): Bryan Shupe (R) told the League of Women Voters he is currently not supportive of HB 110 (legalization and regulation), while Donald Allan Jr. (D) expressed support in response to DCAN’s survey.
- Senate District 4 (Greenville, Centerville): Laura Sturgeon (D) is supportive of legalizing and regulating cannabis, while Gregory Lavelle (R) did not respond to DCAN’s candidate survey. Lavalle voted against decriminalization.
Delaware doesn’t have a voter initiative process, so the only way to legalize cannabis in the First State is via the legislature and governor. So, please be sure to get out to vote and spread the word!
Polls will be open from 7:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. on Tuesday, November 6. You can find your polling place and read your sample ballot here.
Last Wednesday, Gov. John Carney signed into law a bill that allows hundreds of Delawareans to clear their records of marijuana possession convictions!
The new law applies to individuals who have a single conviction on their record. (A second conviction, whether it’s marijuana-related or otherwise, would disqualify the individual.) Delaware decriminalized simple possession of marijuana back in 2015, but records from old marijuana charges can shut the door on opportunities.
Now, individuals with a single conviction for possessing up to an ounce of marijuana automatically qualify to clear their record. To receive an expungement, individuals first request their certified records from the State Bureau of Identification. Then, they pay a fee and fill out a form to apply for mandatory expungement. The expungement forms are on the Courts website, under the Superior Court heading, and are listed by county.
Primary Election Day is Thursday!
In other news, Delaware’s Primary Election Day is coming up this Thursday, September 6. Polls are open from 7:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Only registered Democrats can vote for Democratic candidates, and only registered Republicans can vote on the Republican ticket. You can find your polling place and read your sample ballot here.
Our allies at the Delaware Cannabis Advocacy Network have put together a comprehensive voter guide with the results of their candidate surveys and incumbents’ voting records. If you’re a Delaware resident, check it out, share it on social media, and don’t forget to vote if you’re able to!
On the evening of June 27, the Delaware House of Representatives voted 21-15 (with five not voting) to legalize, tax, and regulate marijuana for adults. This was only the third time that the majority of a state legislative chamber voted to legalize and regulate marijuana!
Unfortunately, however, a majority was not enough. A three-fifths supermajority — 25 votes — is required for any Delaware bill that includes taxes and fees.
While we are disappointed that this will not be the year Delaware legalizes marijuana, together we’ve made tremendous progress. This is an election year, and we’ll be putting together a candidate questionnaire and voter guide, so stay tuned! Helping elect allies is an important way to make sure prohibition ends sooner rather than later in Delaware.
If you are a resident of Delaware ...
Please take a moment to email your state representative to thank them if they voted “yes” or to politely express disappointment if they didn’t. (Many voters and lawmakers alike evolve on the issue, and it’s crucial that we don’t alienate lawmakers.) Once you type in your contact information, a draft email will appear based on how your representative voted.
You may also want to send a note of gratitude to the remarkable legislative champions, Rep. Helene Keeley and Sen. Margaret Rose Henry, to thank them for their relentless work. They are both retiring from the legislature, and they championed both medical cannabis and decriminalization, too.
In other news, a bill to make it easier to expunge marijuana possession convictions passed the Senate in May and is on the House floor now. Please also call your representative to ask them to vote “yes” on SB 197 so that Delaware will stop derailing dreams for conduct that is decriminalized.
The Delaware Legislature is back in session, and your lawmakers need to hear from you! Let them know you want this to be the year that Delaware stops the cruel and counterproductive policy of prohibiting marijuana.
A legislature-created task force is already exploring taxing and regulating cannabis and will present its findings to the legislature and governor by February 28, 2018. Sen. Margaret Rose Henry and Rep. Helene Keeley — who sponsor the Delaware Marijauna Control Act — co-chair the committee, which includes agency heads, lawmakers, advocates, and opponents. The task force has considered important issues like consumer safety, taxation, public safety, and packaging and labeling.
After the task force issues its report, there may be changes made to the bill before it is considered by the legislature.
In states that have already legalized it, regulating marijuana similarly to alcohol is creating good jobs and revenue, while undercutting the illicit market. The New Hampshire House and Vermont Legislature have already voted this year for limited legalization bills. Considering a majority of Delaware voters support making marijauna legal, there is no reason for delay.
If you live in Delaware, please contact your lawmakers and ask them to support cannabis regulation.
On Monday, Delaware Gov. John Carney signed the Bravery Bill into law, which allows PTSD patients to receive a medical marijuana recommendation from any properly licensed physician. Previously, patients suffering from PTSD could only get a medical marijuana recommendation from a licensed psychiatrist.
While this is a step in the right direction, there are many other patients in Delaware who do not have access to medical marijuana. Whether they have a condition that the state hasn’t approved or they simply cannot afford the cost of a recommendation, many would benefit from expanded access. The best way to expand access for suffering patients is by taxing and regulating marijuana for all adults.
As you may know, the Adult Use Cannabis Task Force had its first meeting this month. They are discussing how Delaware could make marijuana legal. The next meeting will cover consumer safety and local authority and control. Here are details:
When: 10 a.m. – 12 p.m. on Wednesday, October 4
Where: House Chamber, 411 Legislative Avenue, Dover, DE 19901
Early Saturday morning, as the 2017 Legislative session came to a close, the Delaware General Assembly passed a resolution establishing a task force to discuss how to tax and regulate cannabis in the First State. While we’d hoped to end marijuana prohibition outright this year in Delaware, this is an important step forward.
The task force will be composed of agency heads, lawmakers, advocates, and other stakeholders. Sen. Margaret Rose Henry and Rep. Helene Keeley, sponsors of the Delaware Marijuana Control Act, will co-chair the committee.
This task force is good news for Delawareans who have worked tirelessly for years on this issue, and success is closer than ever. This fall, policymakers will take a serious look at what a post-prohibition Delaware will look like. The task force will issue a report to the Legislature in January 2018. This leaves plenty of time for lawmakers to vote on replacing marijuana prohibition with sensible regulation.
The Delaware House Committee on Revenue and Finance voted 9-2 in favor of HB 110, a bill to tax and regulate cannabis like alcohol. The bill now heads to the full House where it needs a three-fifths majority to advance to the Senate.
HB 110 would allow adults age 21 and over to purchase up to one ounce of cannabis at state-licensed dispensaries. A new Division of Marijuana Control and Enforcement would oversee the program and ensure compliance. You can read MPP’s complete summary of the bill here.
MPP's Maggie Ellinger-Locke released the following statement in a press release:
“There is strong public support for ending marijuana prohibition in Delaware, and that was reflected in the committee vote,” said Maggie Ellinger-Locke, legislative counsel for the Marijuana Policy Project. “Most Americans now recognize that marijuana is less harmful than alcohol, and they think it is time for it to be treated that way. We hope the full House will follow the committee’s lead and approve HB 110.”
If you are a Delaware resident, please email your representative and tell him or her you want to see Delaware pass HB 110.
After years of advocacy on the part of MPP and our local partners, Delaware Rep. Helene Keeley and Sen. Margaret Rose Henry introduced HB 110, the Delaware Marijuana Control Act. The bill seeks to legalize and regulate cannabis for adults 21 years of age or older. The marijuana tax revenue would be used to fund education, public health campaigns, and to support re-entry campaigns for ex-offenders, among other programs.
An October 2016 poll by the University of Delaware found that 61% of state residents favor this important policy change. Now it is up to voters to let their lawmakers know they want to see them vote in favor of this bill!
In a press briefing to announce the bill’s introduction, sponsors of the bill — which enjoys bipartisan support — spoke about why they see this topic as a social justice issue, and how the failed “reefer madness” policy views of the past should come to an end.