The Latest: Lawmaker proposes pot legalization task force
DOVER, Del. (AP) — The Latest on the final day of this year’s legislative session in Delaware (all times local):
The Democratic sponsor of a bill that would legalize the recreational use of marijuana in Delaware has introduced a resolution to establish a task force to study and recommend how legalized pot would be administered.
Rep. Helene Keeley of Wilmington acknowledged Friday that she does not have enough votes in the House to support her legalization bill.
Keeley said the task force, which would issue a report by Jan. 31, would give lawmakers more answers on how a recreational marijuana program would operate.
Opponents have argued that legalization carries unknown health risks, and that it would lead to more drug addiction and homelessness, decreased school performance and productivity, and more impaired-driving traffic accidents.
Supporters of legalization say it would help reduce the black market for marijuana and the associated crime that comes with it while raising revenue for the state.
With tensions between Republicans and Democrats at a fever pitch because of disputes over the budget, Friday’s Senate session got off to a rocky start, with no agenda posted by Democratic leadership and Republicans not knowing what business was before them.
That left Sen. Colin Bonini, R-Dover, unprepared when a bill he sponsored was the first called for consideration. Bonini did not realize that the bill had been released from committee earlier Friday. He told fellow lawmakers he was unprepared to run the bill and asked that it be deferred until later in the night.
That upset Senate president David McBride, D-New Castle, who told Bonini there was no guarantee that the bill would be taken up later, and that he had been inundated with emails and phone calls asking that the bill be released from committee.
McBride and Bonini then sparred over whether McBride could force a roll call on Bonini’s motion to table the bill or whether Bonini could withdraw the motion and simply have the bill deferred until later.
With Bonini complaining of “nonsense,” McBride called a Senate attorney, who suggested that Bonini be allowed to defer the bill.
With Republicans and Democrats still at an impasse over a budget for the fiscal year starting Saturday, House lawmakers in Delaware began the final day of this year’s session considering a host of bills not concerning money.
Among other legislation, the House on Friday gave final approval to a bill updating Delaware’s medical marijuana law. The bill, which passed the Senate unanimously last month, removes a requirement that a psychiatrist sign the application for someone seeking to use medical marijuana to treat post-traumatic stress disorder. Instead, any physician would be allowed to verify the application.
The House also passed a package of bills recommended by the corporate law section of the Delaware State Bar Association revising and updating Delaware’s general corporation law and laws regarding limited liability partnerships and limited partnerships.