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Bolden, Bush, Schwartzkopf and Smith Sink Marijuana Legalization Bill

These are the Representatives that sank House Bill 305, the legalization of recreational marijuana in Delaware. The bill needed a 3/5th majority to pass, or 25 votes, and it failed 23-14-4.

Bill Bush and Stephanie Bolden were truly cowardly in not voting. If both of them had actually voted yes, the bill would have passed as it would have garnered 25 votes, just over the 3/5th majority vote needed for this bill. If both of them wanted to vote no but did not want to be tagged as anti-legalization to their Democratic base and everyone under 45, then they should know that it won’t work.

Speaker Pete Schwartzkopf is a tired old police officer who thinks he is still a police officer and is wildly out of sync with the party he purports to lead. If a “not vote” or an absention would have appropriate, it would have been here. Even his loyal lieutenent, Valerie “PAL” Longhurst, voted yes. Speaker Schwartzkopf needs to make this his last term.

Republican Michael Smith at the last minute introduced several amendments, even though this bill has been out for nearly a year, and was heard in committee several weeks ago. He demanded the passage of his amendment (which would have eliminated a lot of the equal justice porportions of the bill and thus would endanger the overall passage of the bill) or he would vote no. Indeed, Smith would not say that he would vote yes if his amendments were passed. In the real world we call that smarmy.

His amendments were defeated and then he declared that he was going to take all his toys and go home, like the little whiny temper-tantrum-having child he is. He had the audacity to declare that it was only the Democrats that were to blame to the failure to the bill, even though 23 of 26 Democrats voted yes and whiner Michael Smith and all his fellow Republicans (save for Jeff Spegelman, who had a conflict of interest) voted no. Yeah, that’ll fly, Mickey. Look at the colors in the chart below and tell which party is anti-legalization. Idiot.

House Bill 305 SponsorsYes VotesNo Votes
Osienski, Baumbach, Brady, Heffernan, Kowalko, Longhurst, Lynn, Minor-Brown, Bentz, Chukwuocha, Griffith Lambert, Matthews, Mitchell, Moore, Morrison, K.Williams, Wilson-AntonHouse Defeated 23-14-4. Baumbach, Bennett, Bentz, Carson, Chukwuocha, Cooke, Dorsey Walker, Freel, Griffith, Heffernan, K.Johnson, K.Williams, Kowalko, Lambert, Longhurst, Lynn, Matthews, Minor-Brown, Mitchell, Morrison, Osienski, S.Moore, Wilson-AntonBolden, Bush, Schwartzkopf, Briggs King, Collins, D.Short, Dukes, Gray, Hensley, M.Smith, Morris, Postles, Ramone, Shupe, Smyk, Spiegelman (C), Vanderwende, Yearick
Paradee, Lockman, S.McBride, Pinkney, Sturgeon, Townsend, Gay, Poore, Sokola, Walsh
Current Status: Defeated in the House

Rep. Ed Osienski issued the following statement after the vote on House Bill 305:

“For the past several years, the majority of Delawareans have been clear that they support legalizing recreational marijuana for adult users. We have heard from numerous members of the public – advocates, veterans, retired law enforcement officers, educators and even faith leaders – who have overwhelmingly voiced support for legalizing adult recreational marijuana.

“During that time, we have had numerous meetings with stakeholders, made several changes to our legislation, and engaged lawmakers to answer their questions and attempt to address their concerns. After all of this effort, I believe we owed it to the residents of Delaware to hold a full floor debate and vote on this issue. While I’m deeply disappointed by the outcome, I still firmly believe that Delaware is more than capable of successfully enacting policies for safe and legal cannabis, and I will continue working on this issue to win the support to make it a reality.

“For the advocates who have put in the time and effort these past four years, I’m grateful for your support and your passion on this issue, and I hope you will continue to make your voice heard on this issue. Throughout my time in the House, I’ve seen advocates sway opponents to various bills, and I believe legal recreational marijuana for adult users is no different.”

Delaware politics from a liberal, progressive and Democratic perspective. Keep Delaware Blue.

17 comments on “Bolden, Bush, Schwartzkopf and Smith Sink Marijuana Legalization Bill

  1. grantbrunnercom

    We need someone who will challenge Pete for leadership. If he won’t retire, it needs to be taken from him.

    • And it needs to start by not holding caucus behind closed doors then “claiming” they fought to unseat him but unable to offer any proof… Those are elected official and transparency demands the end of closed caucus rooms

  2. This isn’t a big thing in the scheme of things, but what on earth was Spiegelman’s conflict?

    • Delaware Dem

      I’ve been told that the conflict excuse is flimsy and what he is really doing is hiding like Smith.

      • Zoë Patchell

        What many people don’t realize and what we sent a press release out on hoping it would be covered – The amendments that Mike Smith introduce minutes before the vote, were authored by Jeff Speigleman; yet he didn’t disclose that when he made the statement about his conflict of interest. The amendments create barriers to entry and reduce competition in the new industry. Why wouldn’t the amendments that he authored also be a conflict of interest.

  3. This is incomplete. There are “yes” votes that were only “yes” if all the Smith amendments failed. Letting the good be the enemy of the great, these Democratic members failed their constituents and caucus. They are hiding behind their “yes” votes.

    • Delaware Dem

      LOL. Up is down. Since the Amendments were hostile to the bill’s central provisions, the amendments were never going to pass. So the amendment’s supporters had to ask themselves whether they really supported marijuana legalization or not. They decided not. Your ire is better directed to the no voters who failed the citizens of this state once again.

  4. There are people who were only voting yes if all the Smith amendments failed. Read the amendments and let me know if you think having a bill with those tweaks would be better than having the bill be defeated.

    • Delaware Dem

      Hi Mike! Let me know if you think having a bill fail because your tweaking amendments failed is a better situation that having marijuana legalization pass without your amendments?

      • Delaware Dem

        Mike, you are now on record as opposing marijuana legalization. We will run ads against you featuring this vote. Congrats!

    • SO you don’t feel the equal justice language of the bill is worthwhile? Spoken with such privilege, C. If you really are Mike Smith as DelDem says below, then absolute shame on you.

  5. John Kowalko

    Smith is a perfect example of a “sanctimonious fraud” His statement, on the House floor yesterday, was self-serving, arrogant and disingenuous. He routinely sends out notices from his Department at the University of Delaware which prominently display his name thereby garnering free publicity with no campaign finance expenditures or rules. The Speaker certainly did the Republican party and Smith, personally, a big favor by moving his address back into his existing District. There is no excuse for that either only suspicions of ulterior motives. Sad!
    Rep. Kowalko

  6. Bolden no longer thinks she has constituents to represent and lets Schwartzkopf sway her votes to the detriment of those constituents. Who is running against her?

    • Stan+Merriman

      Sadly, as a constituent, she does not respond to constituent contacts, especially email; all done by staffer. She is completely out of touch IMO and we need to primary her.

  7. I can see the future, and it looks a lot like what happened with casinos. When, and if, New Jersey starts raking in the dough expect we’ll have legalization here as the native greed of the politicians will sweep aside all the “concerns” and lies. As for Pistol Pete and those like them the blame lies with an uninformed and foolish electorate.

    • cassandram

      Indeed, and will be built with local market-killing provisions, that will make NJ and MD much better choices for those who want it.

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