Legislators announce a bill that could allow Delaware to legalize recreational marijuana
Delaware, the first state may be the ninth state to legalize recreational marijuana.
Through a combined effort between Democratic Senator Margaret Rose Henry and Democratic Representative Helene Keeley, they were able to present the Delaware Marijuana Control Act, known as House Bill 110 on Thursday, March 30, 2017.
House Bill 110 is hoping to bring the legalization of marijuana in the state of Delaware, as it will allow people to be able to purchase marijuana legally.
Senator Henry tells 47 ABC that the bill would regulate, tax and allow for the legal distribution of marijuana.
Their bill's framework is modeled after the existing laws on the distribution of alcohol.
It patterns after the alcohol laws in Delaware. There will be a marijuana commissioner, as they have an alcohol commissioner, as they would establish rules and regulations based on where it's sold, where it's grown and how the distribution happens.
Among those regulations, taxes would be $50 on every ounce of leaf marijuana.
The bill would not allow individuals under the age of 21 to purchase, possess, or consume marijuana.
Individuals wouldn't be allowed to consume marijuana in public spaces and they wouldn't be able to grow their own plants or create byproducts on their own.
The other thing the law requires is that there will be complete labeling regarding safety so that a child or anyone else would know exactly what it was they were purchasing.
And just like liquor stores, they are proposing a limited amount of stores, 40 to be exact, that would sell marijuana.
A University of Delaware poll last fall indicated that 61 percent of Delaware voters support legalizing marijuana.
Both representatives are hoping to gain the votes of other representatives and senators as well.
Representative Keeley states, "I think once people really read the bill and see that there a lot of regulations about what you can and cannot do, I do believe that people will become more comfortable with it."
We are told an estimate of $22 million would be brought in if recreational marijuana is legalized and in many cases, other states have doubled those estimates.
Apart of House Bill 110 would set aside funding to train officers responding to the opioid epidemic and heroin epidemic.
Authorities say there are people driving under the influence of drugs and alcohol every single day.
Funding will go directly towards increasing training for officers teaching them how to identify drivers who may be high on heroin or other opioids.
We are told currently they only have 20 officers throughout the state that are trained to identify under the influence.
Senator Henry and Representative Keeley say they felt it was extremely important to have funding directly for that purpose.
The bill will be reviewed and voted on in committee and from there it goes to the house and then the senate.
The bill may take up to a year to pass if it goes through.