Markell Signs Delaware Marijuana Decriminalization Bill

DELAWARE: Voting along party lines, Senate lawmakers gave final legislative approval on Thursday to a measure that decriminalizes the possession and private use of up to an ounce of marijuana, and Gov. Jack Markell almost immediately signed the legislation into law.

The bill, sponsored by Rep. Helene Keeley, D-Wilmington, allows Delawareans to possess up to an ounce of marijuana and use the drug privately without facing criminal sanctions.

Criminal penalties for simple possession will be replaced with a civil $100 fine. The law takes effect six months after Markell’s signature.

An amendment discussed in committee on Wednesday, to reduce the amount of marijuana in the legislation to a half ounce, did not make it to the floor for debate. The decriminalization measure, which cleared the House earlier this month, passed despite significant opposition from police groups and from Republicans.

Delaware Marijuana Decriminalization Bill Introduced

DELAWARE:  Delawareans caught with an ounce or less of marijuana would face just civil fines, not a criminal record, under decriminalization legislation introduced Thursday by a Wilmington lawmaker in the state House of Representatives.

Rep. Helene Keeley, the south Wilmington Democrat, said state residents should not have trouble getting a job, or finding financial aid for college, simply because they were busted with a small amount of pot.

The legislation, House Bill 39, would treat simple possession of the drug, and private use, like a traffic ticket. Selling the drug, and also possessing marijuana with an intent to sell, would remain criminal offenses.

“There’s definitely a generational shift going on here,” Keeley said in a Thursday interview.