Delaware House passes adult use bill.
After less than one hour of debate on Tuesday, House lawmakers passed HB 1, a bill to legalize cannabis for adults, voting 28-13. It now moves to the Senate.
As Cannabis Wire reported in January, Rep. Edward Osienski, a Democrat, introduced HB 1 along with HB 2, which addresses taxation and regulation and would only go into effect if HB 1 also passed.
Concerns voiced during the debate focused on youth use, impaired driving, workplace impairment, and mental health.
Osienski’s responses shared a common sentiment, which is: cannabis is already here, and the bill would better regulate it.
House Minority Leader Mike Ramone, a Republican, praised Osienski’s work on the bill and said, “I actually feel optimistic that passing this bill could create an environment where we have a level of control of what is coming to people and they’ll know what they’re consuming.”
Ramone then asked whether HB 1 would still protect Delawareans from arrest for personal possession if HB 2 does not pass.
“Many of our Delawareans now have access to New Jersey’s market. And come this summer, access to Maryland’s market,” Osienski said. “So if for some reason HB 2 does not pass and become law, [HB 1] will protect Delawareans that choose to drive to a regulated, safe market and purchase and bring it back to Delaware.”
In Delaware, Democrats control the legislature but Gov. John Carney, a Democrat, is opposed to legalization.
Hawaii Senate Advances Legalization.
On Tuesday, the Hawaii Senate voted 22-3 to advance SB 669, a cannabis legalization bill.
The bill is sponsored by Democratic Sens. Stanley Chang, Jarrett Keohokalole, Angus McKelvey, and Joy San Buenaventura.
The new governor, Josh Green, a Democrat, is more favorable toward legalization than the previous governor. Democrats control the legislature, too.
But while the chances of passage have increased over time, lawmakers in the state have remained more cautious about legalization than in other states where Democrats are in control.
NORML executive director steps down.
Executive Director Erik Altieri announced that he’s stepping down to “pursue projects outside of the marijuana policy reform space.”
Alteri oversaw a period of dramatic change in cannabis laws in the country. NORML’s Board of Directors will now search for a new executive director, with NORML Board Member and Treasurer Randy Quast taking the helm as interim executive director.