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Delaware Decriminalizes Marijuana

UPDATE: Delaware Gov. Markell Signs Decrim Bill into Law

The Delaware Senate passed a bill to reduce marijuana possession penalties to a civil, non-criminal offense. This removes any possibility of jail time.

Under HB39 fines will be $100 for possession of up to once ounce of cannabis. Public use will be punishable by a $200 fine. The bill passed a floor vote in the House earlier this month.

According to the bill: «This penalty is in line with the penalty for possession or consumption of an open container of alcohol in most municipalities in the state.»

The language also outlines that those charged with the civil violation cannot also be charged with a paraphernalia offense.

Reducing possession to a civil violation also eliminates a permanent criminal record.

Nineteen states and Washington, DC have decriminalized personal possession of cannabis.

Local groups lobbying for change – Delaware NORML, Marijuana Policy Project and the Cannabis Bureau of Delaware – were pleased at the outcome.

“Marijuana prohibition’s days are numbered, not just in Delaware, but nationwide,» says MPP’s deputy director of state policies, Robert Capecchi. «States around the country are rolling back their outdated marijuana prohibition policies. We’re seeing rapid progress from coast to coast, and we do not expect it to slow down anytime soon.”