Last week cannabis decriminalization took effect in the state of Delaware, making small amounts of marijuana possession punishable by a fine.
Officially possession of an ounce or less of cannabis will only bring a $100 fine; previously it could get you up to three months in jail. Growing and selling cannabis will remain a crime, as will smoking weed in a moving vehicle or in public.
This is a great step on the long road to legalization, but make no mistake, simple decriminalization is not the end goal. Only full legalization can bring the massive cannabis black market into the light of the legal market, thereby undercutting the black market and creating a stable, high-quality supply of marijuana for those who wish to purchase it without fear of arrest. This will create jobs and increased economic activity, which will cause the new industry to grow even more.
A recent poll in Delaware showed that 56% of respondents favored cannabis legalization. The state also has a small medical marijuana industry, so Delaware citizens do have some experience with legal cannabis.
It’s getting to the point in the marijuana legalization movement when just about every state is a possible battleground. This is especially true of states like Delaware, traditionally “blue” states that should be more progressive when it comes to cannabis policy. Those are the states, for the most part, that will legalize first.
Delaware is heading down a road that all states must travel eventually: the road to the dismantling of the walls of prohibition, walls that have been built on lies and that have caused an untold amount of destruction to an incalculable number of people.
The walls are coming down, sometimes brick by brick. But come down they must.