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Law Delaware


Well-Known Member
House panel takes up marijuana legalization bill

By Associated Press May 10 at 8:23 AM
DOVER, Del. — State lawmakers are giving initial scrutiny to a bill legalizing the recreational use of marijuana in Delaware.

The legislation being considered in a House committee Wednesday regulates and taxes marijuana in the same manner as alcohol.

The bill doesn’t allow people to grow their own marijuana but allows adults over age 21 to legally possess less than an ounce of marijuana for personal use.

The legislation would create a commission to regulate, license and tax the marijuana industry, allowing licenses for up to 40 retail stores.

Consumers would pay an excise tax of $50 an ounce, while businesses would pay an application fee of $5,000 and a $10,000 licensing fee every two years.

Lower, slower Delaware....who knew they were such libertarians up there.
Marijuana legalization debate keeps burning in Delaware

The debate over legalized marijuana in Delaware is not going away despite state lawmakers shelving an effort to allow recreational cannabis sales to adults.

The issue was thrust to the forefront of public policy debates in Delaware this year as advocates showed up in force at town hall meetings, organized lobbying events in Dover eventually got the ear of Gov. John Carney in a special meeting to discuss the legalization. Ultimately, advocates had to settle for legislation creating a task force to study the issue ahead of the General Assembly's 2018 session.

While the legislation proposed earlier this year that would actually regulate and tax a recreational marijuana industry in Delaware was set aside, the proposed law will be on legislators' agenda when the General Assembly reconvenes in January.

State Sen. Margaret Rose Henry, D-Wilmington, who sponsored the legalization legislation, is confident the task force will win the votes necessary to pass her bill next year.

"In the end, we are going to come up with something we can all live with," Henry said. "We will definitely see it in 2018. I have no doubt about that."

However, some opposed to legalization say the task force is merely an effort to allow the recent surge in public pressure around the issue to subside before the General Assembly reconvenes next year.

"I think the task force was sort of a placating measure to sort of stop the madness right now of legalization," said Senate Minority Leader Gary Simpson, R-Milford. "I just think it is too soon right now."

The taskforce will be comprised of a collection of state government administrators, public safety officials, politicians, medical experts, advocates and detractors. Its goal is to study models for regulation and taxation of recreational marijuana, reporting its findings to lawmakers by Jan. 31.

Henry said the task force will serve as an opportunity to augment the legalization legislation to address opponents' concerns over how regulation would work.

The taskforce will get into the fine details of legalization including implications for banking, substance abuse prevention, proper packaging and how to combat impaired driving.

Among other potential problems, opponents have raised questions over how local banks would deal with proceeds from recreational sales, how police will test the sobriety of suspected stoned drivers and how to keep marijuana away from those who are not 21 years old.

Henry said the creation of the study group is similar to the path used to legalize medical marijuana in Delaware.

"Anytime you do major policy things, it takes a long time to get people comfortable with the concept," Henry said.

Opponents say the study group does not mean legalization is a foregone conclusion. AAA Mid-Atlantic has been one of the most vocal opposition groups raising concerns about how legalization would affect highway safety.

"They are an optimistic group and (legalization advocates) truly believe in what they are trying to accomplish, but I don't believe this task force is a step in that direction," said Ken Grant, public affairs manager for AAA Mid-Atlantic. "It is exactly what we have been calling for from the beginning: a more in-depth look at the issue."

Detractors have argued that legalization would erode Delaware's safety on roads and increase medical costs. While children would not be allowed to use marijuana under the bill, those in opposition also worry the measure could change young people's perceptions about marijuana's safety.

Grant said the task force will allow for more thorough vetting of how legalized marijuana will affect the state. Both sides have accused their opponents of peddling misleading studies and statistics.

"The whole concept of legalization for recreational use is a lot more complex than some would like to think it is on both sides," Grant said. "The taskforce really has its work cut out for it."

Zoe Patchell, who leads the Delaware Cannabis Advocacy Network, welcomes the "honest dialogue" she hopes the task force will host. She said her group will continue to make their argument that legalization will raise tax revenue, reduce public law enforcement costs and can be done responsibly.

The study group will have three seats dedicated to marijuana reform activists.

"We are pretty optimistic going into the next session," Patchell said. "We just need people to contact their elected officials if they support this so they can hear from constituents."

Patchell's group is planning a number of outreach events through the end of the year and will host a marijuana-focused lobby day in Dover the first week the General Assembly returns in January.

Regardless of what comes from the study group, the legalization effort faces a steep hill to become law.

The measure requires backing from 14 senators and 28 representatives — a two-thirds vote in both houses. Bi-partisan support will be required.

Simpson said he "doesn't see" his Republican caucus ready to vote in favor of legalization. He said there needs to be more time to study the long-term effects in states that have legalized recreational marijuana.

WATCH: Marijuana legalization proponents meet with Gov. Carney

RELATED: Dueling weed agendas head to Legislative Hall

"Give it another two or three years, the social scientists and health scientists can look at the overall effects. If there are none, I'd think it would pass," Simpson said. "By rushing into it, we could be doing more damage to our citizens than benefits."

Patchell said her group is planning to emphasize what they see as the agricultural benefits of legalization for Kent and Sussex counties — counties where Republicans derive the most of their influence in state politics.

Her group has argued legalization would lead to dozens of new small businesses and thousands of new job opportunities.

"It has a strong agricultural grounding with the cultivation and the manufacturing and different things," Patchell said. "These jobs and these businesses would be essential to Kent and Sussex counties."


More than 50 supporters of the proposed Delaware Marijuana Control Act pose for a photo during a recent Lobby Day organized by the Delaware Cannabis Advocacy Network. (Photo: Courtesy of Delaware Cannabis Advocacy Network)

Despite the high legislative hurdle, Henry said public opinion will eventually drive the effort through. A poll conducted by the University of Delaware last year found that more than 60 percent of state residents support full legalization of marijuana.

"The majority of Delawareans want it," Henry said. "The people want it. You can't fool them."
Healer or Dealer? Delaware Cops Turn ‘MMJ Robin Hood’ into Felon

Some people are natural healers, whether by disposition, design or desire. They follow their path and, in most cases, make the world a better place.

Jessica Andreavich is one such person. In fact, she is known as the Robin Hood of Delaware’s medical marijuana community.

For years, as an activist and MMJ cardholder, Jessica made edibles, oils and creams to help people with ailments like cancer, multiple sclerosis, and post-traumatic stress disorder.

And she gave them away… for free.

Delaware, the first state in the union with a population of under one million people, has registered around 1,800 medical marijuana patients since it was legalized in 2011 and possession was decriminalized in 2015.

Although state law permits MMJ patients to share marijuana with fellow cardholders, as long as it doesn’t surpass the six ounce limit, the cops took a different view on Jessica’s compassionate giveaways and decided she was a drug-dealing felon who gamed the system.

According to an interview with DelawareOnline, Jessica only recently started charging people and only enough money to cover the cost of processing the marijuana and making the edibles, garnering little to no profit for herself.

But the minute money and weed were exchanged between those not permitted to legally use MMJ, Jessica was busted and found guilty of drug-dealing and conspiracy.

She had sold five gummy bears and a bottle of tincture to an undercover detective, for a fraction of what they would have cost in a dispensary.

Doesn’t this sound like entrapment?

The undercover cop posed as a struggling veteran suffering from PTSD. He showed Jessica a valid veteran’s card and said he applied but had not yet been approved for an MMJ card.

According to national data from the Veterans Administration, 22 veterans commit suicide each day due to mental health disorders, so shouldn’t Jessica’s act of kindness be rewarded rather than punished?

Furthermore, how dare a cop impersonate a U.S. military veteran suffering from PTSD?

Jessica was sentenced to one year of probation and community service.

“I’ve always known that if they (Delaware’s MMJ program) decided to turn me in, I’d go to jail over this,” said Jessica, a former employee of one of Delaware’s only two dispensaries and the only places where it is legal to purchase MMJ.

“But it was not designed to make money,” added Jessica who says state dispensaries charge patients too much money.

Hence, Jessica mission to make medical marijuana more affordable for the poor.

“This sounds like somebody who has a real humanitarian spirit,” said Dr. David Bearman, a renowned clinical medical cannabis expert for over 40 years. “Frankly, I think that law enforcement has better things to do with their time.”

We couldn’t agree more.

When you read about abject stupidity on the level of the story contained in this article, its no wonder Americans have little to no faith in their institutions.
State Task Force to Begin Discussion on Pot Legalization
By Associated Press September 05, 2017

DOVER, Del. (AP) — A state task force charged with studying and recommending how legalized marijuana would be administered in Delaware is meeting soon to chart a path forward.

The panel, which meets Wednesday, was established by a resolution passed by state lawmakers in early July after a bill that would have legalized the recreational use of marijuana failed to garner enough support in the legislature.

Issues to be studied by the task force include taxation, banking, local authority and control, consumer safety and substance abuse prevention, packaging and labeling requirements, impaired driving and other criminal law concerns.

The panel is scheduled to submit a report to the governor and General Assembly by Jan. 31.
Well, AAA is off my list now for certain! hahah

Debate continues over legal marijuana in Delaware

The debate over legalizing marijuana in Delaware is about to begin anew, just weeks after legislators declined to consider the issue.

A 25-member task force charged with studying how Delaware might regulate and tax legal weed will hold its first meeting today at 10 a.m. in Dover's Legislative Hall.

The panel of advocates, opponents and public officials is slated to present its findings to Gov. John Carney and the General Assembly before Jan. 31.

The final report could bolster recent efforts to make Delaware the ninth state to legalize recreational marijuana use or sink them entirely.

RELATED: Second New Castle County medical marijuana dispensary set to open

RELATED: Sparks fly over marijuana legalization

State Rep. Helene Keeley, D-South Wilmington, and state Sen. Margaret Rose Henry, D-Wilmington, introduced a bill in March that would allow people 21 and older to purchase up to an ounce of cannabis from dozens of stores authorized to sell marijuana manufactured at a number of Delaware grow operations.

House Bill 110, also known as the Delaware Marijuana Control Act, was voted out of committee in May. But the measure was never called up for a vote before the full state House of Representatives.

Buy Photo
Helene M. Keeley, D-Wilmington South, speaks during a hearing on the proposed Delaware Marijuana Control Act, a bill that seeks to legalize the use and sale of recreational marijuana. (Photo: Jason Minto, The News Journal)

That did not stop advocates from showing up in force at a series of town hall-style meetings organized by Gov. John Carney to discuss ways the state could close what was then a nearly $400 million deficit. They argue the bill would eventually add at least $22 million a year to the state's coffers.

Carney held separate public roundtable discussions with advocates and opponents this year.

But he also has voiced his opposition to full legalization at this time, saying Delaware should study the impact in other states before taking action. The governor said more time also is needed to fully implement a 2011 medical marijuana law and a 2015 bill that decriminalized possession of up to an ounce of the drug.

Keeley and Henry ultimately had to settle for a resolution that created the Adult Use Cannabis Task Force, a body charged with examining how marijuana legalization could be implemented in Delaware. House Bill 110, meanwhile, will be on legislators' agenda when the General Assembly reconvenes in January.

Advocates say they hope the task force's report will help strengthen the bill and help it win passage next year.

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More than 100 people turn out for a roundtable discussion on House Bill 110, a bill that would legalize recreational marijuana in Delaware, at Delaware Technical Community College in Wilmington on Wednesday afternoon. (Photo: KYLE GRANTHAM/THE NEWS JOURNAL)

"The goal is to give a lot of groups an opportunity to be in on crafting a workable system before something gets passed," said Cynthia Ferguson, a task force member and executive director of the Delaware branch of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws.

Opponents say they hope to use the task force's meetings to highlight the unexpected consequences experienced by other states that have legalized marijuana – including hat they say have been spikes in drugged driving and increases in illegal drug sales. Nearly a dozen influential organizations have been working to convince legislators to oppose the measure.

Led by AAA Mid-Atlantic, the Keep Delaware Safe and Healthy Coalition includes associations representing law enforcement, major employers, hospitals, doctors, nurses and anti-addiction advocates – all opposed to HB 110.

"No model exists that is ideal," said Cathy Rossi, AAA's vice president for public and government affairs and a member of the task force.

"It is our position that more information and education is needed," she said. "We need more data to inform what, as public policy, we're really considering here."

All eight states that previously legalized marijuana did so through a voter referendum, something the Delaware Constitution does not allow. Last spring, Vermont became the first state to approve a recreational marijuana bill, a measure later vetoed by that state's Republican governor.
PTSD patients in Delaware will get easier access to medical marijuana
Joe Irizarry Sep 14, 2017

Veterans and other post-traumatic stress disorder patients will have easier easier access to medical marijuana.

Governor John Carney signed the Bravery Bill into law, and it allows PTSD patients to receive a medical marijuana card from any properly licensed physician.

"Our veterans have fought for our freedom and have enabled us to enjoy safety and a good life, so the least we can do is provide them with relief," said State Senate Majority Leader Margaret Rose Henry.

Prior to this, PTSD patients could only get approval for medical marijuana from a licensed psychiatrist.

Senator Henry sponsored the legislation with help from 10-year Air Force Veteran Kim Petters. She had to wait eight months before qualifying for medical marijuana.

"Simply put, SB 24 will allow those suffering with PTSD to have more options other than pharmaceuticals, which can be dangerous and addictive," said Petters, President of the Women’s Veterans Collective. "The veteran community continues to experience staggering suicide rates that far outnumber the amount of troops we lose in actual combat. The veteran accidental overdose rates alone more than double the national average. And when you take a look at the veteran homeless community you'll find at least 70 percent of homeless vets report substance abuse, most of which began with pharmaceuticals or alcohol."

There is no cure for PTSD.

Reading this shit will just make you want to weep....just legalize it and quit the hand wringing. FFS, if they worried about these issues in relationship to narcotics, we may not have such a crisis of addiction.

Delaware Panel Weighs Health, Safety Issues of Legalized Pot

DOVER, Del. (AP) — As Delaware lawmakers consider legalizing recreational marijuana they should take a go-slow approach and address a wide range of health and safety concerns, members of a special task force were told Wednesday.

“Keep it simple. Keep it restricted,” John Yeomans, director of the Division of Alcohol and Tobacco Enforcement, told members of the Adult Use Cannabis Task Force as he outlined a host of law enforcement concerns, including the need to prevent driving under the influence and distribution of marijuana to minors.

The panel also heard from a representative of the state Chamber of Commerce, which wants employers to be immune from liability for pot-related workplace injuries, and to be allowed to adopt zero-tolerance policies if Delaware were to legalize marijuana.

Tim Holly, an attorney who co-chairs the chamber’s employer advocacy and education committee, also said the terms “under the influence” and “impaired” need to be clearly defined by statute before any legalization scheme is implemented. He also said employers should not be required to pay unemployment benefits for workers who are dismissed for marijuana use.

Meanwhile, Kim Robbins, representing the Delaware Pharmacist Society, warned that marijuana can react negatively with several types of prescription medications, including antibiotics, diabetes medicines, and drugs used to control cholesterol levels.

Robbins said that while pharmacists could lose their licenses if they were to distribute marijuana, they perform an important role in educating the public. She suggested that any marijuana dispensary have a pharmacist on site to serve in a consulting role. Robbins also said the state should consider setting up a monitoring system to ensure that marijuana buyers aren’t going from dispensary to dispensary to stockpile large amounts of weed.

Jamie Mack, a policy leader with the Division of Public Health, said that, for food safety reasons, any marijuana edibles should be limited initially to shelf-stable products that do not require refrigeration or heating.

“Given that this is a new market, we feel it’s better to start simple,” he said. “If things go well, you can expand later.”

While eight states and the District of Columbia have legalized recreational use of marijuana, each has done so through referendum, which Delaware does not allow. That leaves the possibility that Delaware could be the first state to implement legalization through the legislative process.

A legalization bill introduced by Rep. Helene Keeley, D-Wilmington, stalled in the legislature earlier this year, prompting her to introduce a resolution establishing the task force, which she co-chairs.

“I think there’s a lot of fear out there that Delaware’s going to fall off the East Coast if we do this, but I don’t believe that to be true,” she said. “But if we can make individual citizens in the state of Delaware more comfortable with the idea and roll it out maybe more slowly, then that’s something as a task force we have to look at.”

The task force faces a Jan. 31 deadline for reporting to the governor and General Assembly, but Keeley said that deadline may be pushed back to allow for more input by interested parties.

At its next meeting in November, the panel will consider banking, economic and tax issues related to marijuana legalization.
Delaware cannabis legalization panel issues warnings to state, including one about Sessions

DOVER, Del. — State finance officials are advising caution as lawmakers consider legalizing recreational marijuana use in Delaware.

At a task force meeting Wednesday, officials noted that any regulatory structure the state might set up could be pre-empted by federal law, and that U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions remains a staunch foe of legalization.

Using data from other states that have legalized marijuana, Delaware finance officials estimate that legalization could bring in anywhere from $9 million to $47 million in annual revenue.

Related stories
It pot is legalized, finance officials say any cannabis revenues should be kept separate from the general fund and not built into baseline expenditures.

While eight states and the District of Columbia have legalized recreational use of marijuana, Delaware could become the first state to implement legalization through the legislative process.

Opening of third Delaware medical marijuana dispensary pushed back 6 months

This is the latest setback for a statewide medical marijuana program roll out marked by delays

MILFORD, Del. — The opening of Delaware’s third medical marijuana dispensary has been delayed until next spring.

The News Journal of Wilmington reports New York-based Columbia Care says central Delaware’s first dispensary will not open for at least six months later than initially planned, the latest setback for a statewide medical marijuana program roll out marked by delays.

Columbia Care declined to comment to the newspaper, but Delaware Department of Health and Social Services spokeswoman Emily Knearl says zoning, construction and permitting holdups caused the delay.

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Columbia Care won a state contract to serve Kent County in September 2016. More than 500 people in the county are certified to purchase medical marijuana, constituting around 14.5 percent of medical marijuana patients statewide.

First State Compassion Center operates dispensaries in Lewes and near Wilmington.
Well, if NJ goes full rec, and DE goes full rec, the prices in MD's MMJ program (very high now) will either have to come down or we will go shop in another state. Be lots of competition very soon, IMO

Delaware on track to legalize recreational marijuana next year

Delaware could very well live up to its nickname and become the first state to legalize marijuana through legislation, as the Adult Use Cannabis Task Force continues the effort to study the possibility.

The task force, comprised of several state agencies, was formed earlier this year through a concurrent resolution passed by the General Assembly to study the outcome of regulating and taxing marijuana for recreational use in Delaware for adults 21 and older.

The task force, co-chaired by State Senator Margaret Rose-Henry and State Representative Helene Keeley, has met once a month since its inception to discuss and study the possibility of legalizing marijuana recreationally.

Zoe Patchell, President of the Delaware Cannabis Advocacy Network, has attended every single task force meeting and said "progress is definitely being made," and the state is "one step closer to legalization."
"Different agencies have been making recommendations based on their needs and areas of focus. For example: the Department of Health has recommended stringent and robust labeling as well as strictly organic cultivation for this plant, all of which we agree with," Patchell said.

"The Department of Finance informed the task force that the taxes will likely exceed the initial projections and net Delaware anywhere from around $25-27 billion in tax revenue annually.

"The Department of Safety and Homeland Security reported that legalization would reduce the dangerous criminal market. We are excited about this very serious and necessary conversation taking place.

Progress is definitely being made and we are one step closer to legalization, and it seems that the state is finally recognizing the complete and utter failure that cannabis prohibition is, and are now having the necessary conversations to repeal this failed, costly policy and keep our state economically competitive."

House Bill 110, if passed, would create a marijuana regulation fund which would consist of taxes collected on marijuana, license feeds paid by marijuana businesses, and any fines imposed on them.

"It's an opportunity to create a new industry that would include agricultural, processing and retail jobs throughout the state," said Rep. Keeley. "This bill creates professional, well-regulated framework for marijuana production and sales for adult use; it provides protections for residents while generating revenue for various programs throughout the state."

On Wednesday, the next task force meeting is scheduled to take place and will focus on public safety issues regarding legalization. The task force will issue a detailed report and recommendations from over the course of its study to the state next year.

Eight states have enacted laws regulating marijuana for adult use: Alaska, California, Colorado, Maine, Massachusetts, Nevada, Oregon, and Washington. In the District of Columbia, voters enacted a law making personal possession and home cultivation legal for adults 21 and older.
Not looking that good, I don't believe.

Delaware Marijuana Legalization Panel Issues Draft Report

DOVER, Del. (AP) — A task force studying issues surrounding marijuana legalization in Delaware is wrapping up its work, but it remains unclear whether there is enough support among state lawmakers to legalize recreational marijuana use.
The task force issued a draft report Wednesday and plans to present a final report Feb. 28.

Rep. Helene Keeley, a Wilmington Democrat who is co-chair of the task force and chief sponsor of a stalled legalization bill, said the bill would be amended to address some of the concerns raised during task-force meetings. The panel has discussed a variety of issues, including law-enforcement concerns, taxation and banking, consumer safety, and local authority and control.

Advocates argue that legalization will eliminate the stigma associated with marijuana use, decrease criminal activity associated with black market sales, and raise revenue for the state.

But the legalization proposal faces staunch opposition from a variety of groups, including law enforcement officials, the state chamber of commerce, health industry workers and AAA Mid-Atlantic, which says it will lead to more highway deaths.
Business interests, meanwhile, remain concerned about workplace safety and the ability of employers to prohibit pot smoking by employees.

William Lynch Jr., a hospital pharmacist and adviser to an advocacy group called atTAcK addiction, said marijuana legalization will lead to increased substance abuse and make the opioid epidemic worse.

Lynch said studies suggest that prolonged marijuana use leads to other drugs, increases the risk of addiction, leads to a variety of physical and mental health problems and increases the risk of deaths and injuries in car crashes.

“When all of these things begin to happen in Delaware if the bill passes, … the blood will be on your hands,” Lynch warned lawmakers.

Keeley nevertheless maintained that supporters of legalization are only a few votes shy of the number needed in the legislature to pass a bill.

“I’m very hopeful that the recommendations from the task force along with the amendment will clarify those questions that individual members have and we can move forward,” she said.

But even if a bill were to pass the General Assembly, it’s unclear whether legalization would ever happen, given Democratic Gov. John Carney’s doubts about the proposal.

“Gov. Carney does not believe now is the time to move forward with legalization,” spokesman Jonathan Starkey said in an email Wednesday. “The governor does not believe that Delaware should be a test case, and should instead continue to monitor implementation in other states.”

While Carney has not directly threatened to veto a legalization bill, Starkey noted that the U.S. Department of Justice created significant uncertainty around the enforcement of federal drug laws in states that have legalized recreational marijuana. Last month, Attorney General Jeff Sessions rescinded an Obama-era policy that generally barred federal law enforcement officials from interfering with marijuana sales in states where pot is legal.

As currently written, the legislation sponsored by Keeley would not allow Delawareans to grow their own marijuana but would legalize possession of up to one ounce of marijuana for personal use by adults over age 21. Initial licensing would be limited to 40 retail stores and 75 cultivation facilities.

Nine states and the District of Columbia have legalized recreational use of marijuana, the most recent being Vermont, which last month became the first state in the country to authorize recreational use by an act of a state legislature.

Marijuana legalization panel to vote on final report

DOVER, Del. — A task force studying issues surrounding marijuana legalization in Delaware is set to issue its final report.

Members of the panel, which was established after a legalization bill stalled in the General Assembly last year, were scheduled to vote Wednesday on a final report summarizing their findings and recommendations.

Rep. Helene Keeley, a Wilmington Democrat who is co-chair of the task force and chief sponsor of the stalled legalization bill, said the bill would be amended to address some of the concerns raised during task-force meetings. The panel has discussed a variety of issues, including law-enforcement concerns, taxation and banking, consumer safety, and local authority and control.

Advocates argue that legalization will eliminate the stigma associated with marijuana use, decrease criminal activity, and raise revenue for the state.

Vote to release marijuana legalization panel report fails

DOVER, Del. — A final report on issues surrounding marijuana legalization in Delaware failed to win a task force’s approval for its release Wednesday, but a Democratic lawmaker says the report will be made available to the General Assembly anyway.

After lengthy discussion about a lack of details in the 16-page report, task force members voted to release it, subject to adding an appendix of materials submitted to the panel and a final meeting next week to address technical corrections.

But only 12 members of the 25-member panel voted to release the report, short of a majority. All state cabinet agency representatives on the task either abstained from voting or were absent. Democratic Gov. John Carney has said he opposes legalization.

Task force leaders and legislative staff nevertheless thought the report had been released until reporters pointed out the vote tally.

“I’m not sure how we counted wrong,” legislative attorney Deborah Gottschalk told task force co-chair Rep. Helene Keeley.

Keeley, a Wilmington Democrat who is the chief sponsor of a stalled legalization bill, initially insisted that approval of only a majority of members present was needed. She then said she had agreed to a vote only at the request of fellow panel members, and that it was nonbinding.

“There were several members who asked for an official vote to be taken. I agreed to it. I stand by my word,” she said.

But during Wednesday’s meeting, Keeley never told fellow panel members that the vote was merely symbolic.

“I don’t believe the question was asked,” said Keeley, who acknowledged staging the vote knowing that it was nonbinding.

Some task force members apparently thought otherwise.

“I thought it had meaning to it,” said Rep. Steve Smyk, R-Milton. He made the motion to release the report subject to final technical revisions next week.

“If my motion failed, then they don’t have to call the meeting next week. That’s what it was for,” Smyk said.

Keeley nevertheless said the panel will meet next week, and that the report will be made available to fellow lawmakers, even though Wednesday was the final reporting deadline and there was no consensus to release the report or to extend the reporting deadline.

“Whether it is officially released from committee or not ..., then so be it,” she said.

The resolution establishing the task force mandates that the panel study the adoption of a model for regulation and taxation of recreational marijuana. The task force also is charged with compiling a report containing “actionable solutions” to issues surrounding legalization and ensuring that a final report is submitted to lawmakers and Carney.

“Official action by the task force, including making findings and recommendations, requires the approval of a majority of the members of the task force,” the resolution states.

Keeley insisted that the report does not contain any findings or recommendations, and therefore does not require any consensus among task force members.

Cathy Rossi, vice president of public and governmental affairs for AAA Mid-Atlantic, which opposes legalization, said she was unaware that Wednesday’s vote was nonbinding.

“I would absolutely consider releasing the report to be an official action,” she added.

Rossi also said Keeley’s contention that the report contains no findings or recommendations suggests that it does not meet the mandate of the resolution.

“I think that’s a valid question to ask,” she said.

Delaware marijuana legalization panel votes to release final report at chaotic meeting

By Randall Chase, Associated Press

DOVER, Del. — A task force studying issues surrounding marijuana legalization in Delaware voted to release its final report Wednesday in a last, chaotic meeting that left some members questioning the validity of what they were doing and whether the public was being served well.

A vote to release the report initially failed, as it had two weeks earlier, amid questions from some panel members about the quantity and quality of the information it contained.

But panel co-chair and legalization advocate Rep. Helene Keeley, a Wilmington Democrat, refused to announce the tally. She then had a private conversation with Republican Rep. Steve Smyk of Milton, a legalization opponent, who changed his vote with the understanding that additional information he wanted in the report would be included in a final version.

“I hope she can justify this,” Smyk said afterward.

The failed vote and the rancorous discussion it prompted before Smyk changed his vote left task force member Nicholas Biasotto, representing the state medical society, frustrated.

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“What is the problem and why are we asking the same questions over and over again?” he asked. “I think a lot of what we are doing here is redundant, repetitive and a waste of people’s time.”

Keeley, who sponsored a resolution creating the task force after a legalization bill she was pushing stalled in the General Assembly, later insisted that a vote to release the report was not required. The resolution creating the task force mandates that any official action it takes, including making findings and recommendations, requires majority approval.

After insisting two weeks ago that the report did not contain any findings or recommendations, Keeley acknowledged Wednesday that it does contain recommendations, which would necessitate a vote. She did not explain her change in thinking.

“I have never seen actions such as what we have gone through in these proceedings,” said Cathy Rossi, vice president of public and governmental affairs for AAA Mid-Atlantic. “…. I’m concerned about the entire process, frankly.”

Much of Wednesday’s discussion, which grew heated at times, involved whether comments from members of the public at task force meetings should be included in the report or on a task force website.

Keeley argued that not all the comments are available, and that it would be unfair to include some without including others.

“We are trying to get that information,” she said.

Over the past several months, the panel has discussed a variety of issues surrounding legalization, including law-enforcement, taxation and banking, consumer safety, and local authority.

Advocates argue that legalization will eliminate the stigma associated with marijuana use, decrease criminal activity associated with black market sales, and raise revenue for the state.

But legalization faces staunch opposition from a variety of groups, including law enforcement officials, the state chamber of commerce, health industry workers and AAA Mid-Atlantic, which says it will lead to more highway deaths.

The resolution establishing the task force mandates that the panel study the adoption of a model for regulation and taxation of recreational marijuana. The task force also is charged with compiling a report containing “actionable solutions” and ensuring that a final report is submitted to lawmakers and Democratic Gov. John Carney, who opposes legalization.

While the final report contains a handful of recommendations, such as requiring a seed-to-sale tracking system and prohibiting the use of dangerous pesticides, it leaves many questions unanswered.

“On balance, I’m not sure that the substance of this report produces an adequate set of pros and cons … for public consumption,” Rossi said.

“The question remains on the table about whether recreational legalization of marijuana is what is best for Delaware. The task force has not answered that question,” she added.
Delaware lawmakers likely to vote soon on bill to legalize marijuana

Delaware lawmakers are likely to vote before the end of session on legislation to legalize marijuana, which has supportive lobbyists and legislators working overtime to ensure it passes.

Over a year ago, the House Revenue & Finance Committee approved the bill, which would tax and regulate marijuana for recreational use and allow adults 21 and older to possess up to one ounce.

Zoe Patchell, president of the Delaware Cannabis Advocacy Network, said she and her colleagues are anticipating the bill's vote in both the House and Senate within the next few weeks.

In an interview with Delaware 105.9's Rob Petree, Zoe explained...
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"We're anticipating House Bill 110 getting a vote in the House in the next couple weeks, as well as in the Senate," Patchell said. "We're confident that legislators will definitely act on removing the control from the existing criminal market and replacing it with a safe, legal, taxed, and well-regulated system."

Patchell worked closely with lawmakers who sponsored the legislation and attended every meeting of the Adult Use Cannabis Task Force, a state resolution to study the outcome of legalizing marijuana.

State Representative Paul Baumbach, one of the bill's sponsors, said as of right now to his knowledge there are not enough votes for the bill to pass; however, there's another four weeks for he and other lawmakers to garner support.

In an interview with Delaware 105.9's Rob Petree, Rep. Baumbach explained...
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"In the last months, pretty much anything can happen. With the budget pressures behind us I think we've got time to have some good conversations with each of our colleagues, and to see where there's room to bring people from a maybe to a yes. To my knowledge, we don't have the votes as of today, but we do have a full four weeks to work through that. I think that supporters, both legislator and grassroots, will be working hard to get those last few votes to bring it across the finish line."

On Thursday, the Delaware Cannabis Advocacy Network will hold their 17th Citizen’s Cannabis Lobby Day at 12:30 p.m. at Legislative Hall. Former NHL Philadelphia Flyer’s player and Delaware property owner Riley Cote will be in attendance to lobby behind the legislation.

Eight states have enacted laws regulating marijuana for adult use: Alaska, California, Colorado, Maine, Massachusetts, Nevada, Oregon, and Washington. In the District of Columbia, voters enacted a law making personal possession and home cultivation legal for adults 21 and older.
Del is a small state that is not that very far from other states that are or will legalize for full rec. People will just get in their cars and drive. Stupid.

Marijuana legalization effort defeated in Delaware House

House Bill 110, which sponsor Rep. Helene Keeley said would have established the framework and commission to tax, regulate and distribute cannabis legally in Delaware, was defeated in a June 27 vote in the House.

The bill was modeled off existing laws governing the regulation of alcohol.

The bill garnered only 21 positive votes in the House, while 15 members voted against it. Five representatives abstained from casting a ballot.

The bill required a 3/5 majority, or 25 votes for passage.

Shortly after the results were announced at 8:30 p.m., Keeley issued the following statement:

"While I am disappointed that we did not have enough votes to pass HB 110, I am encouraged by the progress we have made on this issue. When Sen. Margaret Rose Henry and I began this process several years ago, there were many questions surrounding how to implement cannabis regulation in the First State.

"Since that time, public support and momentum for cannabis legalization only continues to grow, and I truly hope that we are able to see this eventually come to fruition for Delaware. We have an incredible opportunity to create an entirely new industry in Delaware that will support jobs, economic development and state funding.

"Through our work with stakeholders throughout the state we have seen how cannabis can be regulated strictly and safely, and I believe we have a strong framework to move forward. Delaware has already decriminalized possession of small amounts of cannabis and approved medical marijuana for patients. Recreational legalization is a natural progression on this topic.

"This has been an issue I have championed throughout my tenure in the Delaware Legislature and am confident the conversation and work will continue."

That work will have to continue without Keeley, as the veteran legislator recently announced her retirement from the General Assembly.
Delaware lawmakers reintroduce marijuana legalization bill

DOVER, Del. (AP) — Democratic lawmakers are again proposing to legalize marijuana in Delaware, an idea still opposed by Democratic Gov. John Carney.

Sponsors of a bill unveiled Thursday say it is aimed at eliminating the black market for pot by establishing a state-licensed industry that would create jobs while padding state coffers with licensing fees and taxes.

A similar bill failed last year amid opposition from the law enforcement and business communities.

The revised legislation allows initial authorization of 50 indoor and outdoor cultivation facilities, 10 marijuana product manufacturing facilities, 15 retail stores and five testing facilities.

The state would collect licensing fees and a tax of 15% of the retail price of all marijuana products sold, while prohibiting citizens from growing their own marijuana for their own personal use.

Please see the pic in the article below. Can someone explain to me why every article about MJ legalization, when they want to show a legalization advocate, seems to manage to find the one stereotype weirdo with long hair, or tats, and or dirty finger nails or all of the above. sigh

Marijuana legalization bill announced
DOVER — Puff, puff… pass?

Legislation introduced Thursday would make Delaware the 11th state with recreational marijuana, enabling individuals 21 and older to legally get high by smoking or otherwise consuming the drug.

Lawmakers unsuccessfully attempted to legalize pot last General Assembly, but a vote in the House fell short in June. This measure shares the same number as the previous proposal — House Bill 110 — but contains numerous differences.

Under the bill, individuals would be able to buy cannabis and cannabis-infused products from special shops, although unlike the other 10 states with legal marijuana, Delaware would not allow individuals to grow their own weed. (Washington only allows homegrow for medical marijuana patients.)

Using pot in public or in a vehicle would remain against the law.

While the measure does not specify the price for marijuana, it would establish a 15 percent tax imposed at the point of sale. Last year’s bill would have taxed marijuana flowers at $50 per ounce, immature plants at $25 an ounce and all other parts at $15 per ounce.

The bill would not change the existing medical marijuana program, which was established in 2011. The first dispensary opened in 2015.


Dover home owner and supporter of HB 110 Lou Esposito stands in the halls at Legislative Hall on Thursday. (Delaware State News/Marc Clery)
“There is a market for safe and legal marijuana in Delaware, which will have numerous benefits for our state,” main sponsor Rep. Ed Osienski, D-Newark, said. “We would be establishing a new industry that would create good-paying jobs for Delawareans while striking a blow against the marijuana black market.

“There’s a tremendous amount of public support for legal, recreational marijuana, and what we are proposing is a measured, reasonable approach that addresses many of the concerns people have raised while providing a framework that will allow for a successful industry.”

The measure contains restrictions like child-resistant packaging and would limit consumers to purchasing 1 ounce at a time. It would also give municipalities the ability to block marijuana retailers or cultivation centers in their jurisdiction.

Much like alcohol, stores would only be able to sell marijuana between certain hours, and the Division of Alcohol and Tobacco Enforcement would have oversight power.

Up to 15 retail licenses would be issued within 16 months of the effective date. A medical marijuana compassion center would be able to obtain a license to sell cannabis for recreational usage.

It’s unclear how much money the bill might bring in. The legislation debated last year had an estimate ranging from $9 million to $50 million, although supporters caution this proposal contains enough changes that the revenue level is difficult to project.

Money from the bill would go to a special fund that would first be used to cover all administrative costs. Once those are paid for, any funding left over would be subject to appropriation by the General Assembly.

Even if the drug is legalized, employers could still restrict their workers from using marijuana, a concern expressed in 2018 by a representative of the State Chamber of Commerce.

Delaware Lawmakers Approve Marijuana Legalization Bill

A Delaware House committee approved a bill to legalize marijuana for adult use in the state on Wednesday.

The legislation would allow people aged 21 and older to possess, consume and purchase certain amounts of cannabis. It also contains a number of social equity provisions, including expungements for individuals with prior possession convictions.

The House Revenue & Finance Committee signed off on the bill in a 8 to 3 vote. It now heads to the full chamber for consideration.

“Both the public and elected officials are recognizing that cannabis prohibition is a failed policy and that was reflected in the committee’s approval of HB 110 today,” Olivia Naugle, legislative coordinator with the Marijuana Policy Project (MPP), told Marijuana Moment. “We hope the full House will now follow the committee’s lead and vote to replace prohibition with sensible regulation.”

A majority of lawmakers in the state’s House voted in favor of a separate legalization bill last year but, because it dealt with taxes and fees, it required votes from 60 percent of the chamber and fell short of that supermajority threshold for passage.

If the current legislation is ultimately approved and signed into law, legalization will see a gradual rollout. A state marijuana commissioner will be responsible for issuing licenses and regulating cannabis businesses. Initially, only 15 retailers will receive licenses; three years after the effective date, additional retailer licenses could be approved if there’s sufficient demand.

The commissioner will also issue licenses for five testing facilities, 50 cultivation sites and 30 product manufacturers. Applicants will be scored based on several factors, including their diversity objectives, environmental sustainability plans and what kinds of benefits they will offer employees.

Existing medical cannabis dispensaries will also have a licensing advantage. Home cultivation would not be allowed under the bill.

Prospective marijuana businesses would have to pay a $5,000 application fee. There would also be a biennial $10,000 licensing renewal fee for retailers, testing facilities and product manufacturers. A month after the effective date, an 11-month transition period will occur, with cannabis sales taxed at 25 percent. Once the transition is over, sales would be taxed at 15 percent.

Revenue from those taxes would cover the costs of regulating the program and then the legislature would be tasked with allocating any additional revenue to programs it deems fit.

In written testimony submitted to the committee, the former chief of staff to then-Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper (D) said that he voted against his state’s adult use legalization measure in 2012—but that he now feels that was a mistake.

“Most of our elected officials and community leaders were convinced it would lead to increased teen marijuana use, destroy our economy, and hamper the tourism industry, and I shared some of their concerns,” Douglas Friednash wrote. “I’ve now had six-and-a-half years to see the effects firsthand. And, I can can tell you none of this has come true, and my opinion has changed.”

“I urge Delaware, and other states, to follow the lead of Colorado and nine other states and replace cannabis prohibition with thoughtful regulation,” he said.

Naugle, of MPP, also testified before the panel, arguing that the legalization legislation would free up law enforcement resources, disrupt the illicit market and generate significant revenue for Delaware.

A fiscal note for the bill estimated that annual costs associated with the program would be about $1.3 million, in addition to the one-time implementation cost projection of $444,000. Those costs would be offset by revenue gained through fees and taxes, however, with the legislation projected to bring in anywhere between $9.4 million to $23.6 million each year.

The Law Enforcement Action Partnership also voiced support for the reform move. Judge Gordon McAllister, a speaker for the advocacy group, said in a press release that a “cornerstone of our democracy is acknowledging that we can always do better,” which is what the legislation does.

“We must change laws to fit the needs and best interests of our communities,” he said.

The favorable committee vote follows the passage last week of a marijuana legalization bill in Illinois, which is now being transmitted to the desk of pro-reform Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s (D). In Delaware, Gov. John Carney (D) remains skeptical about regulating cannabis sales, though, meaning the legislation may still face obstacles if the full House and Senate approve it.

But Wednesday’s development also stands in contrast to legislative happenings in New York and New Jersey, where legalization bills have stalled. Leading lawmakers in New Jersey said that the issue will be placed on the 2020 ballot, leaving it up to voters instead. In New York, just days remain in the legislative session, with advocates pushing hard to get a pending legalization proposal a vote before time runs out.

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