Delaware’s marijuana decriminalization law officially takes effect today, making Delaware the 19th state in the nation to remove the threat of jail, a punishment far too severe for simple marijuana possession.
Under the new law, the possession or private use of one ounce or less of marijuana will no longer trigger criminal penalties or create a criminal record for adults over 21 years of age. Instead, it will be a civil violation punishable by a $100 fine. Adults between the ages of 18 and 20 will face the same $100 civil fine for their first offense. Marijuana possession by minors and public consumption by people of any age will remain misdemeanors.
“Delaware’s marijuana policy is about to become a lot more reasonable,” said Karen O’Keefe, who lobbied for the bill as state policies director for the Marijuana Policy Project. “Most people agree adults should not face jail time or the life-altering consequences of a criminal record just for possessing a substance that is safer than alcohol. Taxpayers certainly don’t want to foot the bill for it, and fortunately they will not have to any longer.”
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