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Marijuana legalization bill clears first legislative hurdle in Delaware

A bill to legalize marijuana in Delaware cleared its first legislative hurdle Wednesday, with the House Revenue and Finance Committee voting after a two-hour hearing to release the measure for consideration by the full House.

It’s being touted as a revenue-generating measure, calling for a government-run industry that would create jobs while padding state coffers with licensing fees and taxes. State government would collect a 15 percent tax on sales of marijuana products, as well as licensing fees for cultivation, manufacturing, sales and testing facilities.

“Marijuana is here. The question is ‘Are we going to regulate it?'” said bill cosponsor and committee member Paul Baumbach, a Newark Democrat.

Prohibition of marijuana, as with alcohol, has been “a dismal failure,” Baumbach added.

Olivia Naugle, legislative coordinator with the Marijuana Policy Project, said legalization would free up law enforcement to focus on serious crimes and would help promote public health and safety.

As a revenue-generating proposal, the bill does not allow Delawareans to grow their own marijuana for their personal use, a problem for some legalization advocates. [Read more at Delaware Online]

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