Marijuana bill passes Delaware Senate, heads to governorPosted by On

By Matt McDonald

DOVER — The Delaware General Assembly has passed a bill to decriminalize possession of marijuana for personal use.

The Delaware Senate on Thursday voted 13 to 7 to pass the bill, one week after the House of Representatives did the same. The bill would remove penalties for having one ounce or less of marijuana, except for those under 21 years old.

The bill is “a critical first step that will protect one in five Delawareans and restore the rights and freedoms for conduct that’s legal in 18 states now,” said Zoë Patchell, executive director of the Delaware Cannabis Advocacy Network, which has pushed for legislation to legalize recreational pot usage for almost a decade now.

Possessing more than one ounce of marijuana as well as consuming weed in public would still each be a misdemeanor if the bill, HB371, becomes law.

For it to do so, it will need to overcome a likely veto from Gov. John Carney, who has voiced his opposition to recreational marijuana use. The governor will review the bill, said Emily David Hershman, his communications director, but “the Governor’s position hasn’t changed.”

Noting the broad support for legalization in the state, Sen. Trey Paradee, D-Dover, touted the bill as both a social and economic good. Legalization would stop possession charges from “ruining peoples’ lives,” he said, and put an end to the disproportionate impacts of those arrests on people of…

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