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Delaware Senate Democrats

Sen. Paradee releases statement in response to the passage of marijuana bills

March 28, 2023

DOVER — In response to the Senate’s passage of House Bill 1 and House Bill 2 on Tuesday, Senator Trey Paradee (D-Dover) release the following statement:

“I thank my colleagues for supporting this legislation — especially my friend Rep. Ed Osienski for his leadership on this issue in the House of Representatives.

If Delaware had a referendum process, marijuana would have been legalized years ago. Today’s vote sends a clear signal that the majority of our legislature — on behalf of the majority of Delawareans — support the legalization of marijuana and the creation of an infrastructure that will regulate and tax it. 

It is nearly impossible to quantify just how much revenue our state has missed out on by failing to create this legal market. However, it’s easier to count the Delawareans whose lives and families have been torn apart by the failed War on Drugs. The enforcement of cannabis possession — even though it has been decriminalized — still disproportionately impacts marijuana-users of color. The arrests have continued, and as a result, lives have been turned upside down. Although a civil offense is not as harmful as an arrest, the citations cannot be expunged and still appear in public record searches. This gap has caused a number of Delawareans to miss out on life-changing job opportunities due to the appearance of citations on background checks.

As neighboring states move to legalize and regulate the sale of marijuana, Delaware is quickly becoming an island of prohibition — despite the reality that marijuana is here to stay. Today, we embrace that reality and take steps to shift what is currently an illegal market into a legal one that benefits Delaware’s economy.”