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Delaware Looking to Legalize Cannabis for Adults

(The Center Square)(March 12, 2023) — The Delaware state Assembly has approved a proposal to legalize recreational cannabis for adults, but the measure faces an uncertain path to Gov. John Carney’s desk.

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Another state is on the verge of legalizing marijuana. Governments are just looking at the billions of tax dollars they will have access to, not giving a damn about the health problems caused by marijuana. According to the MAYO CLINIC, and HARVARD UNIVERSITY, marijuana use impairs attention, judgment, and coordination.  Marijuana use can worsen manic symptoms in people who have bipolar disorder. If used frequently, marijuana can increase the risk of depression or worsen depression symptoms. Research suggests that marijuana use increases the risk of psychosis in people with schizophrenia. Smoking marijuana can affect your memory and cognitive function and cause harmful cardiovascular effects, such as high blood pressure. Marijuana use can worsen respiratory conditions such as emphysema, lung cancer, chronic bronchitis, pneumonia. Also, cancers of the oral cavity,pharynx, and larynx. The use of marijuana as a medicine has the potential to further harm an already ill patient in the same way that taking up regular cigarette smoking would, particularly in light of the fact that those patients for whom marijuana is recommended are already poorly equipped to fight off these infections and diseases. ~CNBNews

 

 

The pair of bills approved by the House last week is the latest effort by Democrats to legalize weed in the First State, which has failed in previous sessions despite the party controlling both legislative chambers.

Backers of the plan say Delaware is missing out on tax revenue and jobs from the regulated cannabis market as other states around them approve retail sales. 

 

“Sixty percent of Delawareans believe that the recreational use of marijuana should be legal," state Rep. Ed Osienski, D-Newark, the bill's primary sponsor, said in remarks ahead the House vote, pointing to recent polls. "It is time for us to listen to our constituents and make Delaware the 22nd state to legalize adult use, recreational marijuana."

His proposal, if it survives the Senate and Carney's veto pen, would remove all penalties for possession of a personal use quantity of marijuana, allowing adults 21 and older to possess up to one ounce of cannabis flower or 12 grams of concentrated cannabis products. The House approved it on a 28-13 vote, with Republicans voting against it. 

Another bill would create a state-regulated system of licensed retail outlets, cultivation facilities, and testing and set an excise tax on marijuana sales. The retail pot market would be regulated by a new Office of Marijuana Control Commission under the Division of Alcohol and Tobacco Enforcement. It passed the House on a 27-13 vote along party lines.

Backers said neither bill would change existing state laws on driving under the influence of drugs. Home growing and public consumption would still not be allowed. 

Both bills are now pending before the Senate's Health and Social Services Committee and would require approval by the full Senate before heading to Carney's desk for consideration.

 

Last year, a similar proposal was approved by the state Assembly but Carney vetoed the bill, citing the long-term health and economic impacts of recreational use of the drug and law enforcement concerns.

"Questions about the long-term health and economic impacts of recreational marijuana use, as well as serious law enforcement concerns, remain unresolved," he said. 

The House vote favoring legalization was three votes more than the two-thirds margin needed to override a Carney veto. But the chamber could not override Carney's objections with last year's legalization bill, despite also passing it with a more than two-margin. That's because several lawmakers who voted for it declined to override Carney's veto.

The fight over retail sales in Delaware has pitted legalization advocates against the state's budding medical marijuana operators, who came out publicly against last year's proposal. 

To date, at least 21 states, the District of Columbia, and the U.S. territory of Guam have legalized recreational marijuana, to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Thirty-seven states have medical marijuana programs. 

Last week, voters in Oklahoma rejected a ballot measure that would have legalized recreational marijuana in the state for adults ages 21 and older. 

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