Carney still a ‘no’ on recreational marijuana in Delaware

Colorado was one of the first states to legalize marijuana. (AP Photo/Brennan Linsley)

Colorado was one of the first states to legalize marijuana. (AP Photo/Brennan Linsley)

Despite months of meetings with supporters of legalizing marijuana, Delaware Gov. John Carney remains firmly opposed to allowing recreational marijuana use in the First State.

When legislation legalizing marijuana use was put on hold last year, advocates were optimistic that 2018 would be the year they’d see legal pot approved in Delaware. But multiple meetings with a task force working to hammer out differences on the legislation have not convinced Carney.

“There are a lot of people who are pushing that. I don’t think it’s a good idea to be out ahead of that, [to be] one of the lead states there,” Carney said in an interview on WHYY-TV’s First. “I’ve talked to my colleagues, governors from Colorado and the state of Washington, and they talk about some of the unintended negative consequences.”

While Carney didn’t exactly say he’d veto a legalization bill if it came to his desk, he remains strongly opposed. “I just don’t think we ought to be a leader there. Again, as we’re trying to strengthen our workforce, create an environment where companies can be successful to make Delaware stronger, I don’t think that will do it.”

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In January, U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions gave U.S. attorneys more discretion to enforce federal marijuana laws, even in states that have legalized use of the drug.

At that time, Cynthia Ferguson, executive director of Delaware NORML, said she was concerned about how Sessions’ move would affect Carney’s decision.

“I’m hoping it won’t scare our politicians off. Not the politicians specifically, but our governor, who’s sitting on the fence anyway,” said Ferguson, a task force member. “I don’t want to see this as an excuse for him to not sign the legislation that will definitely go through this year.”

The task force is expected to issue its final report to Carney later this month.

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