Delaware lawmakers gave final legislative approval for a measure that decriminalizes the possession and private use of up to an ounce of marijuana. Gov. Jack Markell signed the legislation into law almost immediately.
The bill allows Delawareans to possess up to an ounce of marijuana and use the drug privately without facing criminal sanctions. Police can still confiscate marijuana. Penalties for simple possession will be replaced with a $100 civil fine. The law takes effect in six months. Selling marijuana remains criminal under the law.
Gov. Markell’s spokeswoman said in a statement: “The governor remains committed to reducing the number of people entering the criminal justice system and refocusing resources where they are needed most and House Bill 39 supports these efforts.”
The Marijuana Policy Project said in a statement after Thursday’s vote, “Marijuana is an objectively less harmful substance than alcohol, and most Americans now agree it should be treated that way. Delaware has taken an important step toward adopting a more sensible marijuana policy.”