Delaware has just decided to become the next state to decriminalize marijuana, a step that is often indicative of eventual legalization. The bill was passed by House lawmakers on Tuesday, a piece of legislation that makes possession of marijuana a small misdemeanor instead of a felony. This means there will no longer be criminal penalties associated with possession of the plant, offenders will be required to pay fines instead, similar to a traffic ticket.
However, there are certain restrictions to the law such as anybody between the ages of 18 to 21 will still face criminal charges for possession if they are arrested more than once. While no republican in the House voted on the bill, it still manged to pass with a 24-14 vote. Additionally, it is illegal to operate a motor vehicle while under the influence and people cannot consume marijuana in public spaces.
Anybody caught with marijuana in Delaware will now be asked to pay a fine of $100, and police still have legal rights to confiscate the drug upon finding any. Also, distribution of marijuana will still be penalized the same as before, criminally.
Similar laws were passed in states like Colorado where marijuana was eventually completely legalized for both recreational and medicinal purposes. It looks like Delaware is following suite by starting the slow decriminalization process of a drug that has been losing it’s stigma in recent years.