A bill to legalize marijuana was released from committee Feb. 17, clearing the way for action when the session reconvenes Tuesday, March 8.
House Bill 305 creates a mechanism to legalize marijuana in the state while allowing for social justice licenses to be reserved for people and areas that have been negatively impacted by past marijuana laws.
The bill was moved out of the House Appropriations Committee with four votes on the bill’s merits.
House Republicans were the first to comment on the bill, saying it was done quietly through a process called “walking the bill.” The process allows a bill to move out of committee without a hearing or public notice; only a majority of committee members is needed to sign a document to release the bill for further consideration, the House Republican caucus wrote in an email.
“The action taken by the four Democrats on the six-member House Appropriations Committee – representatives Bill Carson, David Bentz, Stephanie Bolden and Kimberly Williams – potentially positions the legislation for immediate action in the House Chamber when lawmakers return to work next month,” the email read.
On Feb. 22, the Delaware Cannabis Advocacy Network was the first group to applaud the move.
“We are calling on the General Assembly to prioritize HB305 and pass the measure just as quickly as they recently passed a set of bills that further loosen Delaware's alcohol laws. HB289 and HB290, which legalize take-out and curbside cocktails and alcohol beverages, were both introduced in January, right around the same time that HB305 was re-introduced. These alcohol bills have passed both the House and Senate (as well as committees in both chambers), with near unanimous support and have already been signed into law by Gov. Carney this month,” the group wrote in an email blast.
The bill is on the ready list for action in the House.