Delaware House Approves Legislation to Legalize Cannabis Possession
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Delaware House Approves Legislation to Legalize Cannabis Possession

Rep. Ed Osienski’s House Bill 371 cleared the House in a 26-14 vote May 5.

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May 9, 2022

The Delaware House voted May 5 to approve an adult-use cannabis legalization measure after shooting down a separate adult-use proposal earlier this year.

Rep. Ed Osienski’s House Bill 371 cleared the House in a 26-14 vote last week, according to a WDEL.com report.

The House defeated Osienski’s earlier adult-use cannabis legalization proposal, House Bill 305, in March.

That legislation aimed to legalize the possession of up to 1 ounce of cannabis for adults 21 and older, promote social equity and inclusion in the market, and reinvest a portion of tax revenue into communities disproportionately impacted by prohibition through a Justice Reinvestment Fund.

After H.B. 305 ultimately failed, Osienski split the legislation in half; H.B. 371 would legalize the possession of an ounce or less of cannabis, while separate legislation, House Bill 372, would allow cannabis to be grown and sold in the state for adult use.

H.B. 372 has been released from the House Revenue and Finance Committee and now awaits a hearing in the House Appropriations Committee.

Meanwhile, with the House’s blessing, H.B. 371 is on its way to the Senate for possible consideration, WDEL.com reported.

If Osienski’s modified legalization proposal ultimately reaches Gov. John Carney’s desk, it is unclear how the Democratic governor will respond; Carney has previously expressed doubts about adult-use legalization, according to a local WMDT.com report.

Under Delaware’s current law, the possession of 1 ounce or less of cannabis is punishable by a civil penalty of $100, the news outlet reported.

Opponents of Osienski’s proposal have argued that legalization could lead to increased cannabis use among youth, as well as expose business owners to potential liability and lead to increased traffic deaths and injuries, according to WMDT.com.