Loading

Delaware: Governor Signs Measure Decriminalizing Minor Marijuana Possession Offenses

  • by Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director June 18, 2015

    Delaware Governor Jack MarkellDelaware Gov. Jack Markell signed legislation today decriminalizing minor marijuana possession offenses.

    Members of the Senate voted 12 to 9 in favor of the measure, House Bill 39, this afternoon. The Governor signed the measure into law this evening.

    House and Senate members approved the measure despite vocal opposition from law enforcement and Republicans. No Republican lawmakers voted in favor of the bill.

    Under state law, the possession of personal use quantities of cannabis is classified as a criminal misdemeanor, punishable by up to 6 months in jail, a $575 fine, and a criminal record. House Bill 39 reduces penalties for the possession of up to one ounce of marijuana to a civil violation punishable by a $100 fine only — no arrest, and no criminal record.

    The use of marijuana in public or in a moving vehicle will remain a criminal offense.

    The new penalties take effect six months from today.

    According to the ACLU, Delaware police arrest more than 2,500 individuals annually for simple marijuana possession offenses. Delaware ranks #17 in the nation in per capita marijuana possession arrests. Blacks in Delaware are three times more likely than whites to be arrested for marijuana possession.

    Delaware’s decriminalization law mimics similar laws in California, Connecticut, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Mississippi, Nebraska, New York, Rhode Island, and Vermont — each of which treat minor marijuana possessions as a civil violation. Similar legislation in Illinois is awaiting action from the Governor.

    Minnesota, Nevada, North Carolina, and Ohio classify marijuana possession as a misdemeanor punishable by a fine only.

    Alaska, Colorado, Oregon, and Washington, DC previously enacted marijuana decriminalization policies, but have since amended their laws to legalize the plant’s possession and use.

    25 Responses to “Delaware: Governor Signs Measure Decriminalizing Minor Marijuana Possession Offenses”

    1. michael says:

      Atleast it’s a step in the right direction and win for us advocates in DE.

    2. Evening Bud says:

      “No Republican lawmakers voted in favor of the bill.”

      Why am I not surprised. Let’s see, the Republicans and “law enforcement” were against decriminalization. I want to hear from those posters who keep insisting both parties are exactly the same.

      We don’t know what a Pres Hillary or a Pres Sanders would do. We DO know what a Pres. Christie or a Pres Jindal would do. (For those of you who don’t know, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal recently refused clemency for a man who was given a 13-year friggin’ sentence for two lousy joints!) Yep, Repubs are all about personal freedom.

    3. Earl Hudson says:

      Bernie Sanders is the most marijuana-friendly candidate. The problem with the Republicans is their mothers did so much crack with their boyfriends and locked their kids out of the bedroom is why they are so anti-drug.

    4. TheOracle says:

      Sweet!

      “House Bill 39 reduces penalties for the possession of up to one ounce of marijuana to a civil violation punishable by a $100 fine only — no arrest, and no criminal record.”

      Next we need a law that reduces penalties for the sale of up to one ounce of marijuana to a civil violation punishable by a $100 fine only – no arrest, and no criminal record NO MATTER HOW MANY TIMES YOU ARE CITED AND NOTHING SIEZED OR CONFISCATED. Then you can have sort of Amsterdam-style cannabis coffeeshops. If the cops decide to come into the coffeeshop, like they don’t have anything better to do such as dealing with and preventing REAL CRIMES, they can’t take your product; they can’t take your money; they can’t make you move from the premises; even after they have written you a citation for $100. How long are they going to hang around writing citations for each sale they witness you do? You gonna have look-outs so the profit far outweigh the risks.

    5. TheOracle says:

      I was comparing NORML’s laws between New Jersey and Delaware, and New Jersey’s are in imperial weights (ounces) while Delaware’s are in metric (grams). It would be nice to have both ounces and grams for each state just for easy comparisons. Maybe just pick grams and post everything in grams. Yes, people can do the math. It’s about instant impact as soon as they see them juxtaposed.

    6. Freedom means free says:

      $100.oo not very stealthy tax…

    7. Shahriar rabbani tehrani says:

      i know some who spend 1000 dollars a month and some even more we could collect so much taxes to help Delaware to build schools and universities but now we are borrowing money to build jails

      I AM STILL NOT HAPPY

    8. Gweedo says:

      I’m kind of disappointed about the fact that this is suddenly a Democrat issue. Marijuana law reform has generally been very bipartisan because it’s an issue that both parties can get behind – it ends insensible policies while providing extra cash-flow for the state.

      I’m also disappointed that the recent poll in NJ found a sharp divide among party lines about legalization.

    9. Dave Evans says:

      “House and Senate members approved the measure despite vocal opposition from law enforcement and Republicans. No Republican lawmakers voted in favor of the bill.”

      This recurring nightmare of Rebublicans that hate freedom. Is this going to be the same story 30 years from now?

    10. Miles says:

      @Evening Bud – The Repugnicans are the ones here in Virginia that insist that locking up each and every one of us users is the thing to do. We tried to decriminalize here and every Democrat voted for it. Every Republican voted against it.

      Screw the Republican party!!! I know there are a select few good ones out there, but as a party – they suck!

    Leave a Reply