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Delaware Marijuana Bill Still in Limbo as Session Ends

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Representative Paul Baumbach says that Delaware needs to fight to legalize marijuana the way it did to end alcohol sales prohibition. Ending marijuana prohibition in Delaware starts with passing House Bill 110 – the Delaware Marijuana Control Act. If passed, it would regulate marijuana similarly to alcohol.

Opponents, according to Baumbach, continue to argue that marijuana is a gateway drug, according to Sussex Countian. Possession of up to one ounce of marijuana was decriminalized in Delaware in 2015. The Marijuana Tax Act of 1937 criminalized marijuana use and made the plant illegal.

Baumbach said, “We need to face reality and say that people in our state use marijuana. Do we want to make them criminals, do we want to force them to work with criminals, or is there a better path forward?”

Regarding the gateway drug comments, Baumbach said, “If you never entered the gate, then you haven’t gone through the gateway. And the gateway is the pusher. Right now we’ve decriminalized it, but to obtain marijuana you need to go to a criminal and buy it illegally.”

He continued by saying, “What the state has done with its policy is push marijuana users to work with the pusher. And a pusher most likely has other products like heroin and et cetera. We’re pushing Delawareans to be interacting with drug dealers. That doesn’t make sense to me. My solution is we legalize access so that we go into a legal business, not a drug pusher, to get your marijuana.”

Legalizing marijuana in Delaware may not provide immediate economic stimulation as it takes time to collect tax revenues, but the potential to take in $20 – $40-million annually, it could help the states deficit significantly. Representative Lyndon Yearick estimates that it would be 2 to 5 years before the state for real revenue to come in from marijuana legalization.