DOVER, Del. – Discussions to legalize recreational marijuana are moving forward in the First State. After Wednesday’s hour and a half long hearing, the House Revenue and Finance Committee agreed to move House Bill 110 to the House for a vote.
“This is not the first time this has been introduced. There has been a strong movement here behind this legislation,” says Olivia Naugle with the Marijuana Policy Project.
Legalizing recreational marijuana failed last legislative session and the year before that. But advocates are hopeful this go around because of the new representatives and senators joining the caucuses.
“We’re very optimistic and here to show support,” says Naugle.
Despite the momentum this legalization has right now, there are still a lot of concerns to work through like issues with public safety.
“No way to test for impairment on the roadside. Unlike alcohol there is no scientific research about impairment and marijuana,” says Ken Grant with AAA Mid-Atlantic.
However, other people argue that House Bill 110 would actually improve public safety by getting rid of the black market.
“Who should control one of the largest cash crops in Delaware? The criminal market which creates crime and violence? Or the department of safety and homeland security and legal licensed business owners,” says Zoe Patchell, President of the Delaware Cannabis Advocacy Network.
The future of HB 110 is now in the hands of the House. But in the meantime, the marijuana industry is not going anywhere.
“You aren’t voting to decide whether we start a cannabis industry here. That industry already exists in Delaware and has for 50 years,” says Dave Foster, a former narcotics detective in Delaware.
If Delaware legalizes recreational marijuana this year, it could be the 12th state in the country to do so.
House Bill 110 would also decriminalize possession for less than one ounce of marijuana. But it’s important to note that Delawareans would not be allowed grow their own marijuana.