Friday, December 1, 2023

Student perspectives on marijuana legalization in Delaware

NewsDelaware NewsStudent perspectives on marijuana legalization in Delaware

Staff Reporter

Across the country, controversy abounds over the legalization of marijuana. In particular, the state of Delaware has experienced an extensive legislative fight over the legalization of the drug. 

On May 24, Delaware Gov. John Carney vetoed a cannabis legalization bill, becoming the first Democratic governor to do so. In contrast to the controversy that the legalization of marijuana at the state level incites politically, students at the university appear to be in favor of legalization and full decriminalization.

Kasey Quinones, a junior math major at the university, is in support of legalizing marijuana for people 21 and over.

“It would be safer to decriminalize marijuana,” Quinones said. “People shouldn’t fear buying off of a safer option.”

Over the years, the Delaware state legislature has advanced the agenda of decriminalizing marijuana. The possession of up to one ounce of marijuana used to be a misdemeanor, punishable by up to a $575 fine and up to three months in jail until HB-39 was signed by former Gov. Jack Markell in 2015.

This bill reduced possession of up to one ounce to a civil violation punishable by a $100 fine and no possibility of jail.

While Carney has stated his support of not imprisoning individuals solely over the possession and private use of marijuana, he still believes that promoting the use of recreational marijuana is harmful towards the young people of Delaware.

“I do not believe that promoting or expanding the use of recreational marijuana is in the best interests of the state of Delaware, especially our young people,” Carney said following his vetoing of the legalization bill.

Despite the fact that there has been some level of decriminalization, there are still frustrations among students. Mackenna Haas, a sophomore nursing major at the university, believes there is no harm in legalizing marijuana.

“It helps people with anxiety and chronic pain,” Haas said, recognizing the health benefits that the bill could have for some, while she would not be personally affected by the legislation, being underage.

While marijuana is currently legal for medical purposes in Delaware, the process to get approval for use of medical marijuana in Delaware proves to be more difficult and time consuming for some.  

In order to be considered for approval, candidates need to have a qualifying health condition, to have a healthcare provider in the state and to be a Delaware resident.

Beyond the medical usages for marijuana, some believe it has purposes that can be used for more than just medical reasons. Emma Blair, a sophomore nursing major, also supports the legalization of marijuana in the state of Delaware.

“It’s more of an herbal supplement than a drug,” Blair said. “It can help people connect on a deeper level.”

As state politicians propose varying solutions for this legislation, Rep. Ed Osienski stated how he is looking to find a compromise that will satisfy everyone before reintroducing a legalization bill.

“When we reach that compromise, I will bring HB 150 forward for consideration,” Osienski said in a statement.




  1. The problem here is Carney said “I don’t believe”. He was elected to do the will of the people he represents and I’ve seen polls where 83% of Delawarians believe it should be legalized. Now this doesn’t affect me one way or the other as I don’t smoke, but it should be legalized as that is the way the country is moving. Soon it won’t matter if / when it becomes federally legal.

  2. The fact is that keeping marijuana illegal won’t be viable for long. It’s already legal for recreational use in New Jersey and Virginia (if under an ounce in the latter), and Maryland just voted to legalize recreational use. Delaware is a tiny state, people can literally just drive to one of the three legal states that now surround us to buy it. Delaware can’t hold out forever.


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