My take: Marijuana legalization, Part 2

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Good  evening,

State Rep. Ed Osienski is not giving up on marijuana legalization. 

According to Delaware Public Media, The Newark-area Democrat plans to introduce a bill that legalizes possession of small amounts of marijuana, with a second bill getting into the complexities of taxing and regulation.

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The first bill requires a simple majority since is not a revenue measure.

Osienski’s bill ran into a buzzsaw when special interests made their case and legislators got cold feet for reasons that remain unclear. The original bill came with a complex array of provisions aimed at giving small businesses and disadvantaged communities a piece of the pie.

The provisions might also increase competition and keep prices lower. Too much greed on taxes along with pricing power from corporate giants would increase the number of illegal sellers.

The current situation is also a reflection of a Delaware General Assembly that meets in spurts during its half-year session.  Detailed information on fiscal and other impacts in non-budget legislation is often lacking – the costs to business being one example.

The info vacuum is also an issue within the marijuana bill. 

While polls suggest a sizable majority of  Delawareans want legalization, the process of advancing the measure has been filled with potholes.

Studies on the impact of the legislation have been minimal. The health effects of marijuana also remain an open question, due to a long-running ban on such research.

A “not invented here” attitude  remains suspicious of innovations from other jurisdictions, such as detailed economic impacts, regulatory and law enforcement studies as well as public input that reaches beyond Legislative Hall.

Even so,  legislators have a wealth of information on what went wrong and right in the growing number of states that have legalized weed.

Osienski may have found a path forward. But the limitations of the legislative process loom as a  larger issue. – Doug Rainey, chief content officer.

 

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