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Delaware House Committee Approves Marijuana Legalization Bill

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On Wednesday, the Delaware House Committee voted to approve recreational marijuana. The House Revenue and Finance Committee advanced the bill with a vote of 9 – 2. The Delaware Marijuana Control Act will receive a vote by the full House.

Zoe Patchell of the Delaware Cannabis Advocacy Network said, “We’re very excited to see our legislators want to end the very dangerous, illicit market for cannabis and replace it with a safe, taxed and well-regulated system. But celebration would be premature at this point. We have a pretty big fight still ahead of us.”

Representative Helene Keeley, the bill’s sponsor, expects a full House vote in early June, Delaware Online reports. The hearing lasted almost two hours. Thirty five people, supporting and opposing legalization, commented on the bill.

The bill contains new penalties for marijuana crimes, and due to that, the bill requires a 2/3 majority vote in both houses of the state’s General Assembly. There is strong opposition of the bill, so it’s fate remains unknown.

If approved, adults ages 21 and older would be permitted to possess an ounce of marijuana. The industry would have to be created from the ground up to allow testing facilities to open, cultivation facilities to be licensed and of course, the manufacturing and sales portion of the industry.

Keeley estimates that $22-million could be generated annually in taxes to aid the state’s financial deficit. Governor John Carney is not supportive of legalization. He’d prefer a study to take place on the industry’s impact in other states first.

Lawmakers are split on their feelings toward full legalization. Lobbying efforts both supporting and opposing legalization are said to begin Thursday.