Call your legislators this morning and tell them you want Delaware to join the future and legalize marijuana. It will also be a boost to the economy, a boost to state revenues, and it will help in the treatment of the opioid epidemic. We need 25 yes votes for this pass, as it is a 3/5th majority vote, since the bill includes new fees and taxes. So call Democratic and Republican legislators. Call Jeff Spiegelman. As a young, allegedly libertarian leaning Republican, he should also be for this.
Sources I speak to don’t predict victory on this bill today. Indeed, there may be several Democratic No votes from the old fashioned police officers in the caucus. But let’s break it down.
HB110, the Delaware Marijuana Control Act, introduced last year to legalize possession of marijuana, is sponsored Represenatives Helene Keeley, Paul Baumbach, John Kowalko, Debra Heffernan, Quinn Johnson, Sean Lynn, Edward Osienski, Trey Paradee, Bryon Short and John Viola and Senators Margaret Rose Henry, Bryan Townsend, Colin Bonini and David Sokola. As sponsors, I think it is safe to assume that they will vote yes on the bill.
So that is 10 votes in the House right there.
In 2015, we had a vote on HB39, the Decriminalization of Marijuana. It passed the House 24-14, with 3 not voting or absent. Here are the vote breakdowns in the House:
YES VOTES: (24) B.Short, Baumbach, Bennett, Bolden, Brady, Carson, Heffernan, J.Johnson, Jaques, K.Williams, Keeley, Kowalko, Longhurst, Lynn, M.Smith, Matthews, Mitchell, Mulrooney, Osienski, Paradee, Potter, Q. Johnson, Schwartzkopf, Viola
NO VOTES: (14) Collins, D.Short, Dukes, Gray, Hensley, Hudson, Kenton, King, Miro, Outten, Smyk, Spiegelman, Wilson, Yearick
NOT VOTING/ABSENT: (3) Barbieri, Peterman, Ramone
24 votes will not be enough. We need 25. This is a 3/5ths vote. By my math, 3/5ths of 41 is 24.6, meaning we need more than 24 votes to pass this. It would be foolish to assume all the votes will stay the same. Voting for decriminalization is not the same as legalization. But if all votes do stay the same, and if we include Bentz as a yes, then that will be 25 votes.
Strategically, I would contact the following Representatives: Bentz, B.Short, Bennett, Carson, Jaques, Longhurst, M.Smith, Mitchell, Mulrooney, Paradee, Postles, Q. Johnson, Ramone, Schwartzkopf, Spiegelman, Viola
I have included in the list above some Democrats who are more conservative or “police-friendly” and/or who represent more conservative districts. These Dems voted yes, but taking the next step might require some hand holding. So call them and respectfully ask them to support it. You can find all the contact information here.