Will Delaware become the ninth state to legalize the recreational use of marijuana? While that decision has not yet been made, lawmakers are getting prepared should House Bill 110 pass.
On Saturday, July 1, the state’s General Assembly passed a concurrent resolution to create a task force that will be responsible for studying the regulation and taxation of marijuana for adult use in Delaware.
According to the resolution, the task force will examine facets such as:
- local authority and control
- consumer safety and substance abuse prevention
- packaging and labeling requirements
- impaired driving and other criminal law concerns
- taxation, revenue and banking issues
The group, which will hold its first meeting no later than Sept. 7, must report its findings and recommendations to both the governor and General Assembly by Jan. 31, 2018.
Sen. Margaret Rose Henry and Rep. Helene Keeley, who sponsored legislation to regulate and tax marijuana like alcohol for adults 21 and older, will co-chair the initiative. The task force will consist of 23 professionals, including a physician, a representative from AAA Mid-Atlantic, a marijuana policy reform advocate, along with several state and municipal government officials.
“The General Assembly is ready to take a serious look at regulating and taxing marijuana for adult use,” Maggie Ellinger-Locke, legislative counsel for the Marijuana Policy Project, said in a statement. “This is an opportunity for a variety of stakeholders to come together and examine every aspect of this issue. We hope it will pave the way for the General Assembly to adopt a more thoughtful approach to cannabis next session. Lawmakers can see the direction the country is moving on this issue and they know most Delaware voters support making marijuana legal for adults.”
Based on a poll conducted by the University of Delaware Center for Political Communication in September 2016, more than 60 percent of Delaware voters are in support of legalizing marijuana.
The legalization of recreational marijuana has been a pressing issue in Delaware, since House Bill 110 was introduced earlier this year. Groups, such as the Delaware Cannabis Advocacy Network, believe that legalizing cannabis will result in significant revenue and economic development, ultimately saving the state more than $22 million. Adversely, organizations such as AAA Mid-Atlantic are against House Bill 110, because of the negative effect it could have on traffic safety.