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Delaware House to vote on cannabis legalization Thursday

Charles MegginsonGovernment, Headlines

Leg Hall

If passed, Delawareans could possess up to an ounce of pot without fear of criminal or civil penalties. (Getty Images)

The bill to legalize simple possession of up to an ounce of marijuana will be voted on in the House of Representatives Thursday.

House Bill 371, sponsored by Rep. Ed Osienski, D-Newark, represents one-half of the latest effort to legalize marijuana.

It would legalize simple possession, but it would not allow for it to be grown or sold. That will require another bill, House Bill 372, which has been released from the Revenue and Finance Committee and awaits a hearing in the House Appropriations Committee.

Legalization only requires a simple majority.

A previous effort, House Bill 305, failed earlier this year, but that’s because it required a three-fifths majority as a result of the financial component that now exists in the other bill.

By splitting the bill in half, House Bill 371 will only require a simple majority, which it almost certainly will receive.

The idea behind Osienski’s move is that if the General Assembly is able to pass simple legalization, there will be less incentive for lawmakers to vote against House Bill 372, as the substance will already be legal. That could earn it enough votes to cross the finish line.

If Osienski’s new strategy is successful, the bills could pass in the Democratic-controlled House and Senate without a single Republican vote.

Osienski said he thinks anti-pot Gov. John Carney will do a pocket pass of the bills, wherein he neither signs or vetos them and lets them become law after 10 days of inaction.

The House session will begin at 2 p.m. and can be livestreamed here.

Click here to learn more about the 2022 effort to legalize marijuana.

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