Carney not happy with current version of marijuana legalization bill

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Gov. John Carney stopped short of saying he will veto a bill that authorizes the sale of recreational marijuana but said he has problems with current legislation and legalization in general.

The bill is likely to see a vote in the Delaware House on Thursday.

Carney made the remarks in response to a question from the media at the weekly Covid-19 briefing.

The governor did not go into specifics but indicated he is concerned about the health aspects of legalization.

On. a related note, the Delaware Cannabis Policy Coalition announced it has added supporting organizations as a legalization vote in the Delaware House.

The group is working to enactHB 150, “The Delaware Marijuana Control Act,” during the 2021 legislative session.

The bill has drawn fire from the longtime opponents in the medical community, some in law enforcement, and AAA Mid-Atlantic. The bill has also been criticized by medical marijuana dispensaries, including a publicly-traded company, that would like to have the first shot at nailing down revenues from legal weed.

The bill, among other things, calls for smaller entities to get initial priority in dispensing cannabis.

The coalition announced the following groups now support legalization.

ACLU-Delaware; Black Mothers in Power; Building People Power; Cannabis Laws Matter; Delaware Coalition to Dismantle the New Jim Crow; Delaware Poor People’s Campaign; Delaware United; Libertarian Party of Delaware; Metropolitan Wilmington Urban League; Network Delaware; Civic League for New Castle County; NORML; Second Chances Farm; Campaign for Smart Justice; United Food Commercial Workers Local 27; The People’s PAC-Delaware; and Unitarian Universalist Delaware Advocacy Network.

The founding members of the Delaware Cannabis Policy Coalition are Marijuana Policy Project, Delaware NORML; Delaware Cannabis Advocacy Network; Law Enforcement Action Partnership; and Doctors for Cannabis Regulation.

So far, in 2021, three states — Virginia, New Mexico, and New York — have legalized cannabis legislatively. To date, 18 states and Washington, D.C. have passed laws to legalize cannabis for adults. In addition to Delaware, legalization bills have solid prospects in Connecticut and Rhode Island, the coalition noted.

“Support for legalization is at an all-time high, with widely diverse support across the political spectrum. An overwhelming majority of Delaware residents (61%) recognize the failure of cannabis prohibition, the many harms that this disastrous policy has caused in our communities, and understand the many social and economic benefits of cannabis legalization. This commonsense measure even has majority support among the legislature, so we are hoping that lawmakers finally listen to their constituents and vote ‘Yes’ to legalize cannabis for adult-use and join the 18 other states and D.C. who have already made this responsible policy decision,” stated, Zoë Patchell, Executive Director, Delaware Cannabis Advocacy Network.

State and national polls have shown a majority of people are in favor of legalization.

In states where voters are allowed to approve the legislation, legalization bills often get a majority vote. Delaware has no such mechanism.

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