The path toward legal marijuana

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Good afternoon,

If Delaware had a direct vote (initiative and referendum) built into its Constitution, recreational use of marijuana might be legal.

A 2018 poll on the subject noted that six in Delawareans support legalization. Support may have grown since that time.

After word that AAA Mid-Atlantic would oppose the latest bill, ten commenters on our Facebook page offered sometimes scathing criticism of the auto club’s stance.

It should also be noted that much of the medical and law enforcement community also opposes the legalization.

The state Medical Society has joined its counterparts in other states in opposing legalization.

Critics accuse the group of hypocrisy, claiming it did little to stem the opioid crisis. They also hintthat the powerful alcohol beverage lobby is working behind the scenes.

Arguments from supporters of legalization seem to center on the belief that marijuana is less harmful than alcohol.

Backers also note that use has become widespread as possession of small amounts is decriminalized. Why not regulate and tax marijuana, like alcohol, they argue. That argument has lost some appeal as it became clear that marijuana taxes will not bring in vast sums.

The arguments of opponents often center onevidence that marijuana is an increasingly significant factor in motor vehicle accidents and the lack of a field test.

Legalization advocates point out that marijuana remains in the body for a long time and may not be a factor.

Edibles and the delayed impact of munching brownies or other goodies where the properties of marijuana can carry a wallop is yet another concern.

More research is needed, but as more states legalize marijuana, it is time for Delaware to look at a phased-in approach with the realization that more people will indulge as legal and social stigmas fade.

After wrestling with the issue, New Jersey is moving toward widening the availability of medical marijuana, a move that many see as a back-door approach to legalization.

A sounder approach would be a three-year phase in study periodthat works to avoid mistakes made by other states.

Legislators and even opponents know that barring some earth-shattering finding, the clock is ticking and “just saying no” is not a long-term option.

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