For some states the idea of legal cannabis may seem far off due to the fact that citizens initiatives are not an option for them – but lawmakers in many of those states are coming around to the idea and many have introduced legalization bills. Even if they know they won’t get the support they need, at least they are starting a dialogue about the issue in legislature. In Delaware, the Senator who wrote and introduced the state’s medical marijuana laws is now focusing her efforts on getting a legalization bill passed that would allow for adult use of cannabis.
Senator Margaret Rose Henry announced last fall that such a bill was in the works – and now she is finally preparing the final touches prior to introducing it to legislature for review and voting. The biggest battle for this bill would be if it were to be passed and find itself on the Governor’s desk because unfortunately, Governor Carney may be inclined to veto. However, Senator Henry is sure that they can write the bill in such a way that would include “safeguards” to ensure people are protected. These safeguards would be discussed with both state and local law enforcement, who are surprisingly supportive of such a bill.
“Law enforcement wants this bill. I’m pleased to tell you that there are police officers who think this is a good thing that we are going to reduce their having to arrest people who don’t need to be arrested,” said Rose Henry.
At the moment, no real specifics about the bill have been released – but it is expected to be modeled off of Colorado and other states that have already been operating with a legal cannabis industry. In doing so, they are hoping to learn what these states have found to be the biggest issues – and how they resolved them (if they have resolved them). Using Colorado as an example, they have adjusted many things regarding their legal cannabis industry since implementation of the law, most notably changing their packaging and labeling requirements for edibles and are working on restricting home growing in the hopes of preventing a black market.
“It’s going to be a learning process, and we’ve already learned a lot from Colorado and the corrections that they’ve made,” said Sen. Henry. “One of the things I’d like to do is take a trip there, we’ve talked to them on the phone.”
Luckily this learning process that Senator Henry is speaking of is being explored by four states with operating legal cannabis industries and 4 states who are in the process of implementing such policies, making it infinitely easier for those who plan to provide guidelines for legalization in other states as well. Sadly, that also gives people like Governor Carney the excuse they’re looking for – waiting to see what other issues these states run into, for example – to hold off on passing any such legislation. At this point, however, almost five years since Colorado and Washington legalized adult use of cannabis, it should be apparent that the sky hasn’t fallen, and legalization has had more benefits than negative impacts.
“Delaware cannot afford to wait on this issue, and 61% of Delawareans support taxing and regulating cannabis like alcohol for adults 21 and older,” said Patchell. “So to ignore the super majority in the state, I think, would not be a good idea.”