DOVER — More than two-thirds of Delaware voters (68%) support removing criminal penalties for marijuana possession and making it a civil offense, punishable by a fine of up to $100 with no possibility of jail time, according to a Public Policy Polling survey released Tuesday by the Marijuana Policy Project. Only 26% said they were opposed.
Under current Delaware law, it is a criminal offense for a person to possess a small amount of marijuana, and he or she can be sentenced to up to six months in jail and fined up to $1,150.
“The era of criminalizing people for marijuana possession is over,” said Robert Capecchi, deputy director of state policies for the Marijuana Policy Project. “Nobody should face life-altering criminal penalties and time in jail simply for possessing a small amount of a substance that is less harmful than alcohol. We hope legislators will listen to their constituents and move quickly to end this draconian policy.”
The poll also found a majority of Delaware voters (51%) support making marijuana legal for adults, and regulating and taxing it like alcohol. Only 41% said they were opposed.
“Most Delaware voters agree it is time to move beyond the failed policy of marijuana prohibition and start taking a more sensible approach,” said Robert Capecchi.
The Public Policy Polling survey of 951 Delaware voters was conducted March 18-19 and has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.2%. The full results are available at http://www.mpp.org/DEpoll.
Seventeen states and the District of Columbia have removed the threat of jail for possession of marijuana, including Colorado and Washington, where marijuana is now legal for adults 21 and older. Twelve other states are currently considering legislation to reduce penalties to a fine. Measures similar to those adopted in Colorado and Washington, which regulate and tax marijuana like alcohol, have been or will be introduced this year in 18 state legislatures plus the District of Columbia Council. In addition, one has been placed on the August ballot in Alaska.