Lawmakers in Delaware claim they have the votes to pass legislation that would set up a regulated and taxed cannabis industry in the state; however they are faced with opposition from the Delaware Police Chiefs’ Council and Democratic Gov. John Carney, the News Journal reports.
State Rep. Helene Keeley and state Sen. Margaret Rose Henry, both Democrats, estimated that a legal and regulated cannabis market could generate $22 million in tax revenues for the state during its first year.
“As the only state in a seven-hour drive to have legalized marijuana, we would become a destination that would attract out-of-state sales, which would have a benefit to our Delaware businesses,” Keeley said in the report.
Although the state faces a $386 million budget deficit, Henry said legalizing cannabis is “a social justice issue” rather than budgetary, indicating that the measure works to that end by legalizing “something that people always have done and are doing.”
Jeffrey Horvath, executive director for the Delaware Police Chief’s Council, said the only positive thing he could say about the measure is that “it generates revenue.”
“Unfortunately, there’s a lot of negatives that also come with it, and we’re against the bill,” he said, adding that law enforcement officials in Colorado have told him “the black market is stronger” than before legalization and “teen marijuana use also has increased.”
According to the Governor’s Office, Carney would prefer that the state get its 6-year-old medical cannabis program fully functional and have more time to study legalization in other states before Delaware makes any more reforms.
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