DOVER, Del.- Delaware lawmakers are once again taking aim at the controversial issue of legalizing recreational marijuana in the state.
House Bill 1 was voted on today in the House of Representatives and has passed after last year's efforts to legalize marijuana fell short. Gov. John Carney's opposition to the Bill had been a major obstacle.
However, many Dover neighbors are more than ready to legalize the drug.
Verna Uptigrow of Dover argues that marijuana has actually "never been a drug," as it grows from the ground and helps with pain and anxiety she said.
"Instead of pushing pills and opioids, you have marijuana that calms a lot of stuff down. I think they should really pass it."
According to a spokesperson from Governor Carney's office, his position has not changed since he vetoed the bill last year.
In May 2022 Gov. Carney said though he "recognizes the positive effect marijuana can have for people with certain health conditions," he does not believe that "promoting or expanding the use of recreational marijuana is in the best interests of the state of Delaware, especially for young people."
He said, "questions about the long-term health and economic impacts of recreational marijuana use, as well as serious law enforcement concerns, remain unresolved.”
Sponsor of HB1, Rep. Ed Osienski (D-Dist. 24) thinks it's time for Delaware to catch up with its neighboring states.
"Now that we have Jersey up and running and Maryland supposedly ready to roll it out this summer, even if it's just HB1 that passes, it protects people that may drive across the borders to purchase marijuana and come home to consume it," he said.
The bill allows anyone 21 and older to carry one ounce or less of marijuana without being charged, but would not allow people to grow marijuana. The bill would not change state laws for impaired driving or prohibit employers from having zero-tolerance policies.
Because the bill does not have any taxation aspect to it, the measure only required a simple majority - 21 votes - to pass in the House. It passed Tuesday 28-13. It now heads to the Senate for consideration.
A second companion bill, House Bill 2, is slated for a vote on Thursday. That bill would create the legal framework to regulate cultivation, sale, and possession of marijuana in Delaware.