Yesterday, Representative Ed Osienski introduced a bill to legalize, tax, and regulate cannabis for adults 21 and older in the First State.
Last year, the legalization bill fell short of the needed supermajority (25 votes) in the House of Representatives to pass — though it did garner majority support. However, several new lawmakers were elected in the 2018 general election.
Now, it is time for Delawareans to pressure the General Assembly this legislative session to end cannabis prohibition. Regulation works. Ending prohibition would displace the illicit market, reduce the number of cannabis-related arrests, and generate new tax revenue for the state.
It is important for lawmakers to hear from as many constituents as possible. Please help spread the word by forwarding this message to your friends and family in Delaware. Together, we can end prohibition!
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.
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.
In the past 24 hours, there have been two significant advances toward modernizing Delaware’s marijuana laws. Yesterday, Rep. Helene Keeley put forth amendments to her marijuana legalization and regulation bill, HB 110, which address concerns and reduce the number of votes needed for passage. Then, this morning, the Senate unanimously approved a limited but important marijuana expungement bill!
Let them know it’s past time to end Delaware’s failed experiment with marijuana prohibition. Our software makes the process quick and easy. Just type in your contact info and your lawmakers’ names and phone numbers will appear — one at a time — along with some suggested talking points.
With the legislative session ending on June 30, there’s no time to waste. So, make a couple of calls to help make history! Then, spread the word on social media or by email, to ask other thoughtful Delawareans to speak out for sensible marijuana policies.
Earlier this month, the Delaware Adult Use Cannabis Task Force voted to release its final report. Thank you to the co-chairs, Sen. Margaret Rose Henry and Rep. Helene Keeley, and all the members of the task force who have worked tirelessly to thoroughly review the issue before presenting their findings.
Legalizing and regulating marijuana in other states has created jobs, generated tax revenue, and increased tourism. It also attracts new businesses and makes the state more appealing to younger professionals all while undercutting the illicit market. Considering a majority of Delaware voters support making marijuana legal, there is no reason for delay.
When the legislature returns from the break, it will be time to proceed with legislative consideration of HB 110, which would legalize, regulate, and tax adults’ use of marijuana. Marijuana is safer than alcohol, and adults who choose the safer option should not be punished. Instead, they should be able to support Delaware’s economy by purchasing safe, legal products from state-licensed businesses.
On Wednesday, Delaware Gov. John Carney signed SB 24 into law. Now, patients in the First State suffering from PTSD will no longer need to visit a psychiatrist in order to obtain a certification for medical cannabis. They can instead get their certifications signed by any physician. The change to the program takes effect immediately.
The bill — known as the Bravery Bill — was sponsored by Sen. Margaret Rose Henry, who is also sponsoring Delaware’s adult use cannabis bill, HB 110. An earlier version of SB 24 would have also added anxiety disorders to the program, but that language was removed from the final bill.
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.