Delaware Advances Invoice to Legalize Hashish for Full Home Vote • Excessive Instances

A new draft cannabis bill, House Bill 150, has just emerged from a Delaware House committee and is pending a full vote on the House Floor. If this bill passes, it will mean legal cannabis is on the way for Delaware.

The House Health & Human Development Committee approved the bill this week after hours of discussion and will hopefully face a full vote in April or May. When House Bill 150 becomes law, individuals 21 and older will be able to purchase an ounce of recreational cannabis at a time in licensed stores. There will also be a sales tax of 15 percent.

Under this law, cannabis use in public or in a vehicle, as in many other states, is against the law, and employers can ban cannabis use if they prefer. Home growing will also not be allowed, and individual cities and counties may refuse to allow cannabis facilities. Cannabis, like alcohol, would be regulated by the Alcohol and Tobacco Enforcement Department.

Many spoke out in favor of legal cannabis outside the house, and some expressed concern about how this will affect the community or the medical cannabis program already in place. Many believe this will be a much needed and welcome blow to the illicit market as well as the war on drugs.

“Delaware does not exist in a bubble, and it is impractical, illogical and fiscally irresponsible at this point in time to believe that the cannabis ban will ever eliminate cannabis from Delaware,” Zoe Patchell, president of the Delaware Cannabis Advocacy Network, told lawmakers.

The consideration of social justice

If this measure is successful, up to 30 retail licenses will be issued in the first year and four months after the law comes into effect. Employees who pay fair wages and value diversity will be preferred, and licenses will also be available for growth and distribution.

Like many other states, Delaware is considering how to prioritize social justice. The three license types offered are competition, social justice, and micro-business. Social justice licenses go to those disproportionately affected by the war on drugs, as set out by the Delaware Marijuana Commissioner. This includes people from areas “which have a high rate of arrests, convictions, and incarcerations relating to the sale, possession, use, cultivation, manufacture, or transportation of marijuana.” Those convicted of a crime related to cannabis during the ban will continue to be considered for licenses.

“There’s no fair reason or reason this plant remains a List I drug,” said Jacqueline Seifred, a cannabis lawyer who told the story of how cannabis helped her son overcome his opioid addiction. She shared her story with the house to help advance the legalization cause.

However, this is not a closed deal as the bill has yet to come out of the house and there are still some who have concerns about how cannabis affects traffic accidents, sobriety at work, the black market, and youth use. The next few months will tell if legal cannabis is in sight or Delaware.

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