Delaware Cannabis Decriminalization Bill Goes Into Effect

Marijuana possession has just been decriminalized in Delaware, as House Bill 39 went into effect this morning. Adults 21 and older no longer have to fear criminal repercussions for possessing up to an ounce of cannabis. The implementation of the bill is expected to save the state millions of dollars in enforcement costs.

Previously, those found to be guilty of marijuana possession in the Blue Star State could be subjected to a stay of up to 90 days behind bars and a fine of up to $575. House Bill 39 changes that penalty to a civil fine of up to $100.

The decriminalization policy was actually signed in June by Gov. Jack Markell, and had been lobbied for by the Marijuana Policy Project. Markell signed the bill into law just an hour after its final passage through the Senate. It was sponsored by Rep. Helen Keeley in the House and Sen. Margaret Rose Henry in the Senate, who also chairs the Judiciary Committee. Sen. Henry had stated that the new law “will remove the potential implication a criminal record can have for a person seeking employment, housing, and education.”

Smoking in public remains a criminal offense under the bill as a misdemeanor punishable by up to a year behind bars.

Photo Credit: Chris Connelly

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