As the fight for legal marijuana continues several more States could soon jump in the mix. These two States usually don’t come to mind when someone thinks about which States could legalize next.
1. Delaware – After years of lobbying, pro marijuana activists finally have a bill on paper headed for the Deleware General Assembly.
The draft bill legalizes recreational marijuana for anyone over 21-years-old. They can buy up to an ounce at a time from shops around the state. It would still be illegal to smoke in public under the bill and it wouldn’t allow people to grow their own plants for personal use. Anyone under 21 would receive a $100 civil fine for the first offense and an unclassified misdemeanor for any further arrests.
If it passes, initial retail licenses would be limited to 40 stores in Delaware, but the state could expand after three years if there’s enough demand. Rep. John Kowalko (D-Newark South), a sponsor of the bill, says legislation like this will help better refocus priorities of the law enforcement community.
“I think that’s a waste of resources and I think it’s certainly an infringement on people to try to reflect on the heyday of ‘Reefer Madness,’” Kowalko said. 20 percent of all tax revenue raised would go directly to the Department of Education, while another 30 percent would be split by the state health department for addiction treatment, education campaigns and helping those with past pot convictions get jobs.
The rest would go to the General Fund, if not further earmarked.
2. Nebraska – According to Live Well Nebraska, the state’s Judiciary Committee last week advanced Legislative Bill 622, which would legalize medical marijuana in Nebraska. If approved, the bill would allow medical cannabis to be prescribed for 19 different ailments, but it would not allow for patients to smoke cannabis or grow cannabis plants in their homes. Pills, oils, liquids, lotions, or inhalation through vaporizers would be the only acceptable delivery methods per L.B. 622.
This bill could be an intriguing battleground for medical marijuana because it would pit the populous vote of the American public against one of just two groups of people who are still opposed to the expansion of marijuana (albeit in recreational terms).
According to a recently released poll from Quinnipiac University, 93% of Americans want to see medical marijuana legalized nationally, compared to just 6% who opposed the idea. On the other hand, Republicans are just one of two groups of people (seniors being the other) who oppose the nationwide legalization of marijuana. Nebraska is decidedly a red state that regularly leans Republican. In other words, it could lean either way at this point.