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Delaware Decriminalization Law Takes Effect

  • by Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director December 17, 2015

    cropsLegislation signed into law last June decriminalizing marijuana possession offenses takes effect at midnight tonight.

    House Bill 39 reclassifies the possession of up to one ounce of cannabis by those age 21 and over from a criminal misdemeanor, punishable by up to six months in jail and a criminal record, to a civil violation punishable by a $100 fine only — no arrest, and no criminal record. (Those between the ages of 18 and 21 may face criminal charges, but only if it is their second or subsequent offense.)

    The new law also amends the personal possession of marijuana paraphernalia from a criminal to a civil violation. Public use of the substance, as well as marijuana possession while inside a vehicle, remain classified as misdemeanors.

    Prior to the law change, Delaware ranked #17 in the nation in per capita marijuana possession arrests.

    Delaware’s decriminalization law mimics similar laws in effect 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.

    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.

    13 Responses to “Delaware Decriminalization Law Takes Effect”

    1. Evening Bud says:

      Way to go Delaware!

      I just wish I could send my teabagger governor, Susanna Martinez, and Albuquerque’s GOP city councilors, to Delaware for a month for enlightenment and reeducation, replete with a liberal use of tasers.

    2. Wayne Carson says:

      If something is decriminalized, should mean – not against the law. All these laws are BS, decriminalize, medical use, whatever term used still has rules and control by our oppressive government.. Recreational marijuana use should be legal in every state for those 21 and older…

    3. Ben says:

      This is interesting…

      Several points:

      1) it is generally favorable for our movement…

      2) it is also rather silly, in that,
      it is a partial admittance that cannabis ISN’T
      all that bad, with the attachment of
      ‘but we still want to keep it illegal’
      because, somehow, without hindrance isn’t
      quite good enough, yet…

      Oh well – it is a start.
      I will try to keep my grumbling to myself…

      Now, as the dominoes continue to fall:
      1) back our allies, namely, NORML.
      2) make your vote and your voice count-
      REMEMBER, Bernie is actually on our side-
      and seems to be the best Democrat on the ticket… and don’t make a mistake of expecting
      Your interests to even matter to mrs clinton.
      3) Whatever you choose – I recommend you contact your representatives, your candidate, or any official – and let them know where you stand on this issue.

      I would much rather pass you a joint,
      than pass time with you in the joint.

      • Anonymous says:

        You are right Bernie is trying to get this rescheduled federally … which would be one of the greatest events on our fight for something helps more then hurts …. Can’t say the same for alcohol or opiate pain killers

    4. Anonymous says:

      I can see all the Blue states fully legal by 2020, unfortunately this will create quite a backlash in the Red.

    5. Julian says:

      Every time I see an article about Delaware I think of Mike Myers and Dana Carvey in Wayne’s World saying “Or you could win a trip to… Delaware!!! … (No applause)… There’s a bridge…”
      But now… I have a reason to stop and know the state. I was just there in March driving through (because that’s what you do when youre not from Delaware… You drive through…) And I thought, ” I wonder if theyre gonna do it? Decriminalize marijuana?”
      Well? They did it. And congratulations Delaware; You’re one step away from nowhere to somewhere. Legalize and gain the tourism while you still can. (Man, in some of my posts I can be a real @$$#0!e)

    6. Mike T. says:

      Delaware – close to all the places you want to visit/tour. Yes, it’s nice knowing that at most I’ll get a $100 fine for smoking my drink of choice. It will be nicer when I can do that on my front porch, legally.
      And we have more than one bridge, dammit!

    7. Joel: the other Joel says:

      100 dollar fine and no criminal record may seem no big deal but the fine receipt will be your unofficial record. Also,dealing with the black market becomes more risky and dangerous.

    8. Julian says:

      @Mike T,
      LMAO!
      Yes, my friend, more than one bridge to smoke off of… :-)

    9. Evening Bud says:

      Since I already mentioned my MJ prohibitionist teabagger, Governor, Susanna Martinez, I’ll add a news story that just broke this week.

      It seems that her honor, the Guv, was partying in one Santa Fe’s ritziest hotels with an entourage, and several of her colleagues became too noisy and rowdy, one or some of them throwing liquor bottles onto the street or parking lot from the balcony. Apparently several complaints were made by other hotel guests to the front desk.

      When the hotel finally called the police, because apparently the ruckus continued for a while, the cops duly showed up at the Gov’s room and the partying stopped.

      I listened to three audio recordings here on the ‘net, and in each of them, Susanna, did her best to maintain an air of sobriety and politeness. She never apologized in any of the recordings, however, but instead was fixated on who ratted them out.

      She asked the front desk clerk who called. Was it someone in the room next door? Someone on her same floor? The clerk said he couldn’t give that information. She said, “That’s okay, I’ll get it from the cops.”

      While talking to a Santa Fe police dispatcher, reiterating that she is the gov, she again wanted to know who called in the complaint. When the dispatcher told her he could not give out that info, she said, “Yes you can, it’s public information.” The dispatcher’s supervisor also told her he could not give out that info.

      In all three recordings she was intent on finding out who ratted her out.

      Ah, such a wonderful public servant, she. No MJ legalization allowed on her watch, but watch the booze flow and flow.

    10. Dave Evans says:

      Susanna Martinez sound like a first rate Narcissist. Time after time and again, Prohibitionist equals Narcissist, Obsessive or Both. That information cannot be made available to the Narcissist, they will then attack said person in anyway they can, because they are not actually in control of themselves.

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