(Photo by Flickr user Heather Cassano, used under a Creative Commons license)
Delaware could possibly become the first state to legalize marijuana through legislation. Although eight states, including California, Colorado, and Washington, have already legalized marijuana, it was done via a referendum, or a popular vote, which Delaware does not allow.
Last month, state legislators introduced House Bill 110, also known as the Delaware Marijuana Control Act. Under this bill, state residents, 21 and over, will be able to purchase up to ounce of marijuana from stores that are licensed to sell cannabis that has been grown in Delaware. The bill will also make way for the marijuana regulation fund, which will consist of taxes collected from the sale of marijuana, along with license fees from marijuana businesses.
State Representative Helene Keeley, who was one of at least 14 legislators who signed on to co-sponsor the bill, believes the Delaware Marijuana Control Act will create a lot of revenue and a new industry for Delaware.
“It provides protections for residents while generating revenue for various programs throughout the state,” Keeley said in a statement.
Zoe Patchell, executive director of Delaware Cannabis Advocacy Network (formerly Cannabis Bureau of Delaware), agrees that the marijuana industry and the passing of House Bill 110 could mean great things for the state.
“Cannabis prohibition is a hindrance to Delaware,” Patchell said in an interview with Technical.ly. “Legalizing cannabis could save the state nearly $22.3 million, which is currently what they spend to address cannabis prohibition. Passing this bill could result in significant revenue and economic development.” (We haven’t been able to independently confirm that number.)
Patchell and the other 60 members of the Delaware Cannabis Advocacy Network have started “Activist Action April,” in an effort to garner support and raise awareness of House Bill 110. Each weekend in April, the group will meet in various spots across the state to spread the word about the benefits of legalizing marijuana.
“We had our first one this past weekend and we just held a training and went over all of the different points in House Bill 110. We also made plans for what we hope to accomplish this month,” Patchell explained.
In 2011, Delaware legalized the use of medical marijuana, though Governor John Carney’s office say it is still rolling out the program, according to the News Journal. There is currently one medical marijuana dispensary, known as a compassion center, located in Wilmington. A second facility is scheduled to open near Lewes within the next month.
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