Dont mess with Delaware
Ending Marijuana Prohibition

Governor Markell Signs Delaware Marijuana Decriminalization Bill Into Law

Dont mess with DelawareDelaware Gov. Jack Markell signed a bill into law Thursday night that will remove criminal penalties and potential jail time for adult possession of a small amount of marijuana. The Delaware Senate approved the bill 12-9 earlier in the evening. The new law will take effect in six months.

HB 39, introduced by Rep. Helene Keeley (D-Wilmington South) in the House and sponsored by Judiciary Committee Chair Margaret Rose Henry (D-Wilmington East) in the Senate, will replace criminal penalties for adult marijuana possession with a civil fine similar to a traffic ticket. Under current Delaware law, possession of up to one ounce of marijuana is a misdemeanor with a maximum punishment of a $575 fine and three months in jail.

Delaware is the 20th state to decriminalize marijuana possession or make it legal for adults. Nineteen other states and the District of Columbia have adopted laws removing the threat of jail time for simple marijuana possession, four of which also regulate marijuana similarly to alcohol. The Illinois General Assembly approved a similar measure in May, which is now awaiting action from the governor.

Statement from Robert Capecchi, deputy director of state policies for the Marijuana Policy Project:

“We commend Gov. Markell and the Delaware Legislature for moving the state forward and leaving its antiquated marijuana possession law behind. Adults in Delaware will no longer be branded as criminals simply for consuming a substance that is undeniably less harmful than alcohol. Law enforcement officials will be able to spend more time addressing serious crimes instead of arresting and prosecuting adults for simple marijuana possession.

“Marijuana prohibition’s days are numbered, not just in Delaware, but nationwide. States around the country are rolling back their outdated marijuana prohibition policies. We’re seeing rapid progress from coast to coast, and we do not expect it to slow down anytime soon.”

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The Marijuana Policy Project, the nation’s largest marijuana policy organization, has been responsible for changing most state-level marijuana laws since 2000. For more information, visit www.MarijuanaPolicy.org.

  • Bong Sativa

    Progress,albeit a small step forward toward complete legalization. It must be duly noted however that not one single Republican voted in favor of this measure. These self-righteous simpletons are & always have been our sworn enemies & must be vanquished permanently. These reprehensible bastards will never quit trying to impose their specious reasoning & faith fomented foppery on their far more intelligent neighbors. We may be high,but come election day we’ll certainly remember who our real friends are & these smug & condescending right-wing GOP assholes are certainly not among them. I don’t personally know any Republican who uses marijuana (I won’t associate with conservative dickheads),but if I did I wouldn’t share my stash with such hare-brained,hidebound,holier-than-thou halfwits. I encourage all of you who may have such friends to cut them off until they’ve encouraged their representatives to reverse course & sponsor marijuana legalization legislation. Legal marijuana is inevitable,let’s speed up the process while we have these ignorant imbeciles on the run. Repeal,Repent,Retreat ! Congratulations Delaware !!!!

    • Lawrence Goodwin

      Spot-on comments! You’re clearly a no-holds-barred political analyst, Bong Sativa. Whenever I get calls from police benevolent associations during their fundraisers, I say, “I’ll make a contribution as soon as your entire organization publicly supports full cannabis legalization.” (The last guy responded, “All right, that sounds good.”) When that kind of support starts to materialize, we’re really close to the end.

    • I must say that as a Republican (of the libertarian variety) I couldn’t agree more. Thankfully the Libertarian Republicans and Democrats in Congress are slowly dismantling Prohibition.

      Now if we could just do something about Grassley in the Senate.

      However, you are going to have to educate those you don’t like. You never know. A bong hit or three might do wonders.

      BTW if you live in an open primary State may I suggest a vote for Rand Paul? So no matter who wins the Presidential contest we get an ally.

      • Nathaniel

        My issue is, as I get older, I am not sure there is a party that adequately exemplifies everything [or even a majority of things] I stand for as a voter. I have been voting Libertarian on and off post GWB [only the first time], but I have also voted Green Peace relative to the position said person is attempting to obtain [water resource management, certain judges in circuit courts, etc].

        I just can’t in good conscience vote for a man who is a pro-lifer. I might be persuaded to consider him as an option if he really made a push to deschedule, but until that day I simply can’t vote for the man.

        • Well I can appreciate that. But the Republican Party is full of them. And if a Republican comes out on top Rand is better than the rest when it comes to Prohibition.

          Besides. I was only suggesting a primary vote.

          • Nathaniel

            Oregon doesn’t have an open primary, and generally by the time the primaries get to this side of the country it is all over but the shouting.
            Frankly it would be nice if the primaries changed state orders every cycle to more accurately reflect the will of the voter base. It is shameful that many states primaries mean nothing by the time they happen.

    • I must say that as a Republican (of the libertarian variety) I couldn’t agree more. Thankfully the Libertarian Republicans and Democrats in Congress are slowly dismantling Prohibition.

      Now if we could just do something about Grassley in the Senate.

      However, you are going to have to educate those you don’t like. You never know. A bong hit or three might do wonders.

      BTW if you live in an open primary State may I suggest a vote for Rand Paul? So no matter who wins the Presidential contest we get an ally.

    • Nathaniel

      Don’t you love how Republicans vote for “personal freedoms” when it suits their agenda, but the moment it impedes their ability to do business they vote against them?

      • It is about personal freedom so long as they personally agree with it.

  • Nathaniel

    It isn’t legalization, but I am sure the good people of Delaware will take it. Chalk up another win for us!

  • David Yoseph Schreiber

    This is a major victory which may be as significant as the ones in Colorado and Washington. The situation now in Delaware is that there are absolutely no penalties for personal possession and use of cannabis. It positions them to take a wait and see approach as to what the states are doing that have gone for outright legalization particularly in regards to market, tax, and regulatory issues. It’s the way to go for states which do not wish to do the leg work involved with the initial setting up of a legal marijuana industry.

  • our4th

    Question for Attorney General Matt Denn

    How would you respond to a marijuana defendant claiming in court the State of Delaware use of police power has deprived that person’s liberty, and property without due process of law?

    Decriminalizing marijuana ends the arbitrary enforcement of the marijuana laws but private cultivation is still a political crime.

    Instead of the long process of arresting
    someone it is only a summons to court which is also deprivation of liberty. The
    police still seize and deprive you of your property, marijuana. The rights to
    liberty and property are fundamental rights secured from unreasonable police
    power by the 4th and 14th Amendments. Due process of law requires the deprivation of fundamental rights to be justified by a compelling state interest. Judicial review is Strict Scrutiny.

    But lawyers and judges declare it a political question because marijuana is not a fundamental right. Judicial review is rational basis. This declares marijuana users are nonpersons and do not have equal protection of law, the 4th and 14th Amends. We do not have rights to liberty, property, privacy, security against unreasonable police power. We are subjected to rational, political police power.

    Changing the marijuana laws by a political process confirms we are nonpersons. Those opposed to marijuana are opposed to equal protection of law and equal rights secured by the 4th and 14th Amends.
    The judiciary is allowing the majority to deprive the rights of a minority by
    declaring marijuana a political question.

    Law enforcement should of been first in line to the legislature declaring criminalizing marijuana is unreasonable because there has been no victim of a crime. The police should not be allowed to criminalize marijuana to investigate other violation of law.

  • Lucy

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