Delaware Senate Approves Bill to Legalize Marijuana That’s Already Passed the House

The Delaware Senate has voted in favor of legislation that legalizes marijuana.

Delaware SenateThe Senate voted 16 to 4 today to pass House Bill 1 to legalize the possession of up to an ounce of marijuana for those 21 and older. A separate measure to legalize licensed marijuana stores – House Bill 2 – is expected to receive a vote in the chamber shortly.

House Bill 1, filed by Representative Ed Osienski and sponsored by Senator Trey Parade in the Senate, has already been passed by the full House of Representatives by a vote of 28 to 13. House Bill 2 has also already passed the House in a similar vote of 27 to 13.

“According to polls conducted by the University of Delaware, 60% of Delawareans believe the recreational use of marijuana should be legalized”, said Senator Trey Parade in a speech on the Senate floor. “That percentage will certainly grow quickly in the years to come. The older generation that was fed reefer madness lies and propaganda, is beginning to understand what the younger generational already knows: Marijuana by any measure is far less harmful than alcohol, not as addictive as caffeine and nicotine, and does not cause anywhere near the harmful side effects or astronomical health-related cost and consequences of tobacco and nicotine.”

Addressing concerns he’s heard from opponents of the bill regarding drugged driving and marijuana as a gateway drug, Parade noted that “Delaware has a higher death rate per mile than all but 3 of the 21 states where recreational marijuana is legal”, and he pointed out that the state has a heroin usage rate that’s almost double every recreational marijuana state and triple that of California, Washington and Oregon.

The proposal will soon be sent to Governor John Carney. Although Governor Carney is opposed to legalizing marijuana and it’s possible he could veto the measure, Representative Osiensky says he’s “optimistic” that the legislature has the 2/3rds support required to override a veto.

House Bill 2, which will be voted on soon, would authorize marijuana to be sold through licensed and regulated retail outlets, giving those 21 and older a legal method of obtaining it.

Update: The Senate has now passed House Bill 2 by a vote of 15 to 5.

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