THE WHOLE MAGILLA: Delaware Lawmakers Propose Legalizing Recreational Marijuana Use

Artwork via REDBUBBLE

DELAWARE ONLINE: Delawareans could legally possess up to an ounce of marijuana for “personal use” under new legislation backed by Democratic lawmakers in both chambers of the General Assembly. The legislation would set the minimum age for marijuana possession at 21 and would only impose a $100 civil fine on anyone found consuming marijuana in a public place, including streets, parks and sidewalks. Under current Delaware law, possession of small amounts of marijuana is currently prosecuted as a misdemeanor, punishable by up to six months in jail and fines of up to $1,150. Rep. Helene Keeley, a Wilmington Democrat, is sponsoring the bill. The measure could be difficult to move through the Legislature with just a month left in the current session, but at least 14 other Democratic lawmakers have joined Keeley as co-sponsors. No Republicans were listed as sponsors on Thursday. “This is to start dialogue,” Keeley said. “I think that society is evolving just like it evolved when it came to same sex marriage,” Keeley said. Sen. Bryan Townsend, a Newark Democrat and co-sponsor of the legislation, called the measure the “first step” in the direction of full legalization and regulation of marijuana sales. “So many people’s entry into the criminal justice system involves possession or use of very small amounts of marijuana,” Townsend said. “There are very serious drugs, we need to treat people’s addictions and we need to penalize drug dealers. In my mind, marijuana is not in the same grouping as a lot of the drugs we need to be focusing our efforts on.” MORE

NEWSWORKS: “A single joint is a Class B misdemeanor and can result to up to three months in jail and can result in a $1,000 fine,” Patchell explained. She added that 47 percent of all drug arrests in Delaware are marijuana-related and that Delaware spends more than $13 million per year prosecuting non-violent cannabis possession cases. “That’s a lot of misplaced manpower and misplaced resources,” Patchell said. MORE

RELATED: Marijuana In Delaware: Arrests, Usage And Related Data