Medical marijuana bill introduced
News-Journal - Ginger GibsonSen. Henry confident she has votes to pass measure this year
Under Senate Bill 94, residents would be allowed to have up to 6 ounces of marijuana, considered a month's supply, Henry said, and would be issued identification cards to prevent them from being prosecuted for having that amount or less. The state would also license centers to grow and sell marijuana to be sold for medicinal purposes.
Nationwide, efforts like Henry's got a boost last week when the U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear a challenge to California's medical marijuana law, allowing the law to stand and the sale of medical marijuana to continue.
Henry said her proposal would not decriminalize marijuana or prevent people who sell or purchase it illegally from being prosecuted.
The bill calls for setting up compassion centers or centers with the right to grow marijuana," Henry said. "You would not be able to go on the street corner and buy. We're not talking about heroin or the drugs we see on street corners."
The legislation gives the Department of Health and Social Services 120 days after its passage to establish rules and regulations to oversee the issuance of ID cards and licenses to sell marijuana. Henry said the regulations would model other states that allow medical marijuana as a treatment option for residents.
The legislation is co-sponsored by Rep. Hazel Plant, D-Wilmington North, and also lists Sens. Karen Peterson, D-Stanton, Robert Venables, D-Laurel, and Liane Sorenson, R-Hockessin.
"I want to thank them for being brave enough to join me on this journey," Henry said of the co-sponsors, "because any time you do something something that is new or innovative in a state, some times it takes people with courage."
Henry said while several people expressed apprehension about having their names listed as co-sponsors, she has spoken with several members of her caucus and believes she has the support to get the legislation passed this year.
Joe Rogalsky, spokesman for Gov. Jack Markell, said the governor is still studying the issue of legalizing medical marijuana and does not yet have a position on the bill.
Personally, I support a complete end to the prohibition of marijuana everywhere in the United States.
I used to have some trepidation in this sense about confining marijuana to the realm of narrow medical uses, when it is so beneficially and safely used by millions of Americans on a daily basis.
For goodness sake, it's a natural plant. It is used 'right off the vine'. In my view cannabis was a gift to man from God, a completely-natural means to many positive human ends...not the least of which is access to medicine as ubiquitously as food can be grown for sustenance. But hey, that's me.
Knowing that this represents a sea attitude change from the prohibitionist excesses of the last 80 or so years, it is a very positive step forward for Delaware.
Notably on the legislation is Senator Bob Venables, the socially-conservative downstate Democrat who was recently on the vanguard of protecting property rights against eminent domain abuses in Delaware but also in support of codifying marriage to exclude same sex couples. Senator Venables' co-sponsorship will prove key to passage of this bill.
I applaud these courageous lawmakers for bringing this bill forward and disregarding the vestiges of political risk-aversion from being labeled "soft on drugs", should a politician hint at supporting a sane rational fact-driven liberty-based drug policy rather than criminal prohibition.
These legislators have made progress merely by introducing this legislation. They are bringing us out of the stifling dark ages of political inertia on this issue, and allowing an outlet for what will be a public outpouring in support for drug policy progress.
As with so many issues, the public is ahead of the politicians on this one. As such, we are at a rapid tipping point with majority support growing from all points along the political spectrum. Let's hope the politicians get the message.
Perhaps the Delaware Senate will wisely follow the lead of another state's Senate, occupied in the not-too-distant past by our president.
I urge everyone reading this, who believes we have had enough of the drug war and police state enforcement tactics in Delaware and America, to call your legislators and offer your support to this excellent legislation...a first step toward rational, reality-based public policy on personal drug usage.