Delaware is hoping to become the first state to legalize marijuana through legislature – however there are multiple states looking at this possibility including Vermont, Rhode Island and Connecticut. These states do not have the option of voter initiated acts, which means that their only hope is that lawmakers take the chance and decide to enact such laws through legislature. Last year Vermont came very close to being the first state to do this, but it didn’t quite go the distance.
While voters cannot put an initiated act or amendment on the ballots in Delaware, they can still do their part to encourage lawmakers to consider alternatives to prohibition. Spreading the word to those who are under-educated about cannabis and the negative impact that prohibition has and about all the benefits that have come out of legalization in the states who have taken that leap is something any of us can do. This was the main point of the Repeal Day Rally, held in Newark, Delaware on December 4th – the 83rd anniversary of the repeal of the 18th Amendment, which ended alcohol prohibition in the U.S.
“Cannabis prohibition is just as ineffective and problematic as alcohol prohibition and it’s causing negative consequences to our communities here in Delaware and wasting millions in resources and police manpower,” Patchell added.
There is legislation in the works which is expected to be introduced in early 2017 that could legalize marijuana for adult use in the state and with such impressive support from voters, it would be unwise for lawmakers not to at least consider these bills. With the number of states that just passed initiatives in November, it makes sense that some states would want to get in on the same action – without losing some of their control to voters or, in states such as Delaware where voters cannot change laws, without losing the support of the majority of voters for continuing to enforce failed policies.
In the state of Delaware, 61% of voters are in support of repealing the failed marijuana laws and replacing them with something more logical – legalization. The state has already decriminalized marijuana but advocates and some lawmakers feel that doesn’t go far enough. The benefits of a regulated and taxed industry far outweigh just about any argument against them – and Delaware residents are aware of this and want to see these changes. After the success of the past three Repeal Day Rallies it is no surprise that the Cannabis Bureau of Delaware expects the event to continue to grow until lawmakers make the changes they know are inevitable.