The online reaction to the pot bill going up in smoke Thursday was on point.
“That’s a lot to inhale,” said Scott Clabaugh on a Republican Facebook page.
“I can host a brownie night if they’d like to hash it out with the people,” wrote Lisa Mizell Taillon.
John Sybert told another commenter that: “Weed is literally the only non partisan issue in our lifetime … I can find just as many reasons for us Republicans to legalize as much as for Dems. We all smoke weed the same.”
But the best quip may have come from James Atkins, who said if the state would hurry up and legalize marijuana, Gov. John Carney could offer a new prize in his DE Wins! vaccination contest: “A toke for a poke.”
House Bill 150, which would have legalized the growing, sale and adult use of marijuana in Delaware, was up for a vote in front of House Thursday as part of what looked like a busy day.
But then lead sponsor Rep. Ed Osienski, D-Newark, issued a statement Thursday morning saying it was being pulled from the agenda.
While many pieces of legislation are pulled because the sponsors realize they don’t have enough votes to get it through, Osienski said it was because so many amendments that would make significant changes to the bill had been placed it in recent days.
The online bill summary shows 10 amendments, four filed by Osienski and six filed by Republicans Ruth Briggs King of Georgetown, Jeff Spiegelman of Clayton and Michael Smith of Pike Creek Valley.
“House Bill 150 is an extremely important piece of legislation with many complicated moving parts,” Osienski said in his statement. “Accordingly, my colleagues and I need time to consider the implications of these various amendments before bringing the bill to the House floor for a vote.
“This is one piece of legislation that we have to get right, and I encourage my fellow legislators, advocates and supporters of the bill to please be patient as we continue to work toward the goal of legalizing marijuana for adult recreational use in Delaware.”
“The nature and scope of those amendments; which ones could potentially be added to the bill; and how those changes would impact support for the legislation; have apparently created too much uncertainty for the sponsors to be confident moving ahead at this time,” said Joseph Fulgham, communications officer of the Delaware House of Representatives Republican Caucus.
The bill already had passed the House Appropriations and Health and Human Development Committees, but must pass the full House before going to the Senate for consideration, and the session ends June 30.
Spiegelman, who had written an opinion piece this week about how the bill should be delayed to make changes, was pleased that Osienski pulled it.
“I was encouraged to see that House Bill 150 was not being worked today as there is still more work to be done to improve the legislation,” he said in a statement. “I want to thank the sponsor – Rep. Ed Osienski – for listening to my concerns, as well as the concerns of other lawmakers.
“Over these next several days I will continue to work with Rep. Osienski to make the necessary adjustments to address the public safety and local government issues that are among my biggest problems with the bill in its current form.”
Betsy Price is a Wilmington freelance writer who has 40 years of experience, including 15 at The News Journal in Delaware.
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