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Controversy Ignites at Delaware Governor’s Marijuana Meeting

State Marijuana Law

Governor Carney held a marijuana round table meeting last week. The debate became heated rather quickly. Proponents and opponents voiced their opinions. The focus was on the future of marijuana in Delaware.

It isn’t clear whether the General Assembly will vote on marijuana legalization in June yet, Delaware Online reports. The state would not, however, be legalizing home cultivation. All cultivation would be handled via state-approved cultivation facilities.

Opponents state that road safety and increased medical costs as major reasons for not supporting legalization. Children would not be permitted to use marijuana, but the opposition says that legalizing marijuana gives children the wrong perception about its safety.

Jim Lardear, speaking for AAA Mid-Atlantic, said, “To commercialize the recreational use of marijuana in Delaware is a serious gamble on public safety.”

Co-sponsor Representative Paul Baumbach spoke in support of the measure. He made a comparison between tobacco prohibition and alcohol prohibition.

Baumbach said that alcohol prohibition “did not stop alcohol use. It put it under the cover of darkness”.

Representative Helene Keeley says that the opposition’s concerns could lead to positive changes within the bill.

A super-majority of support in both houses of the General Assembly is needed to move the legalization bill forward. The super-majority requirement is due to new criminal penalties associated with the bill.

The debate then shifted to public comments where some question allowing cigarettes and alcohol but not marijuana. Others ask why another drug should be added to the list of drugs that are okay to use. The debate even included testimonials of those that struggled with youth addiction to marijuana while others praised marijuana for saving them from potential opiate addiction.

Michael Wirtschafter was able to stop using prescription painkillers thanks to marijuana.

He said, “Anyone over 21 should be allowed to have the choice.”

Governor Carney commented that, “There were a lot of data and studies shot back and forth. It seems to me we ought to try to get on the same page.”

Carney is still skeptical about legalizing recreational marijuana in Delaware. He still wants to wait and see more data-driven evidence from legal states like Colorado and Washington. He also says that legalizing marijuana won’t fix Delaware’s budget issues.

Governor Carney said, “We have a budget problem that has to be resolved with a balanced budget by June 30.”

Further debate is expected regarding legal recreational marijuana as June progresses.