Markell signed a marijuana decriminalization bill Thursday after it passed the Democratic-controlled Senate. Republicans, who did not support the bill, argued that decriminalizing marijuana would encourage more young people to use it, writes USA Today.
The bill, sponsored by Democratic Representative Helene Keeley, allows people in Delaware to possess up to an ounce of marijuana and use the drug privately without facing criminal sanctions.
Criminal penalties for simple possession will be replaced with a civil $100 fine. The law takes effect in six months, according to USA Today.
For the second time in three years, lawmakers in the Deleware state Senate narrowly voted to repeal the death penalty in the state, according to USA Today.
The Senate voted 11-9 on Thursday in favor of repeal.
This sets up a battle in the Delaware House of Representatives, where police groups and the chamber’s top Democrat will oppose the effort. The House of Representatives in Delaware has 41 members.
The legislation, sponsored by Democratic Sen. Karen Peterson, includes an exemption for the 15 inmates currently sitting on Delaware’s death row. They would still face execution by lethal injection, claims USA Today.
The measure has support from clergy. It also has support from a political effort partly organized by a man named Erik Raser Schramm, a Democratic operative and former top aide to Delaware House Democrats.
Groups supporting State Senator Peterson’s bill includes the NAACP, the American Civil Liberties Union of Delaware, the Delaware Center for Justice, and the League of Women Voters.
Governor Jack Markell has yet to speak about it. A spokeswoman for Markell said in an e-mail Thursday that the governor would not take a position.
State Senator Peterson said she wished Markell would take a stand on the matter like former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley did when that state repealed its death penalty in 2013.
O’Malley is a Democrat looking into running in the presidential primaries against Hillary Clinton.
“We tried to encourage our governor to do the same … but he’s not comfortable with that for some apparent reason,” the state senator said.
Wolf PAC is an organization founded by TYT Network that attempts to stop campaign finance money from controlling our politicians (and our lives.) Wolf PAC has moved through several states already and recently helped pass a bill in the Delaware senate to create an Amendment to the Delaware constitution that would limit the money corporations can give to politicians.