In expressing shock over Gov. John Carney’s veto of legislation that would take away the already minimal civil penalties for possession of a small amount of marijuana, a coalition of legal cannabis backers pointed to a Civiqs poll that shows overwhelming support for legalization.
Carney has been steadfast in his opposition and, in his veto message, trotted out the usual arguments about the lack of civil penalties leading to increased use of marijuana among youth and concerns about the long-term effects of cannabis.
Some were betting that Carney would yield to his typically cautious nature and let the bill pass without his signature.
In the veto message, Carney expressed strong support for medical marijuana, which is finally letting small businesspeople get a shot at operating dispensaries under a flawed state program. By the way, medical marijuana comes with a similar set of risks as recreational weed when barriers to the expensive process of getting a card are lowered.
Back to the poll, which shows a rising tide of support for legalization since 2018.
Click here for the Delaware results.
The most dramatic change came in Carney’s demographic – those 65 and over.
Since 2018, seniors have gone from being evenly divided on legalization to having more than six in 10 favoring legalization.
What happens next?
Carney’s veto puts centrist Democrats in a tough spot in deciding whether to go against a term-limited governor when most voters in their districts favor legalization. The progressive wing of the party will have few qualms.
Should a veto override come, Republicans with libertarian leanings will be tempted to hand Carney an embarrassing defeat by voting to pass a measure that comes with little chance blowback in their districts.
Will Democrats decide to kick the can down the road by staying away from an override or take the first step toward legalization and let Carney swim into a 30-foot wave? Pass the popcorn. This could get interesting. – Doug Rainey, chief content officer.