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Gov. Carney weighs in on marijuana legalization, gun bills and more

State of Delaware

During “Ask Governor Carney” heard on Delaware Public Media Monday, the governor again voiced opposition to legalized marijuana.

"Look, I just don't think it's a good idea," he said.

Carney wouldn’t say if he would sign or veto legislation currently in the General Assembly, if it is passed and sent to his desk.

For Carney, it’s a health issue, noting he was Lt. Gov. when the state passed the indoor smoking ban, and he believes legalizing marijuana conflicts with that.

He also says he remains concerned it can be a gateway to opioids at a time the state is fighting the opioid crisis.

"If you talk to the parents of some of these folks that have overdosed and passed away they don't think it's a good idea because they remember the trajectory of their own sons and daughters," said Carney. "And I'm not suggesting that that's always a gateway for all that, but if you talk to those Attack Addiction advocates they don't think it's a very good idea."

And ultimately, Carney doesn’t believe states that have legalized marijuana have benefited from the move.

"As I look at other states that have it, it just doesn't seem to me to be a very positive thing from the strength of the community, of the economy in their states," said Carney. "Is it the worst thing in the world? No, of course not."

Carney spoke against legalized marijuana after neighboring New Jersey approved it last year, and Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf has signaled he supports it.

Listen to the entire "Ask Gov.Carney" show from Delaware Public Media and WHYY.

Carney also discussed the gun safety bills making their way through the General Assembly,

He did not commit to signing or vetoing bills creating handgun permits and banning high capacity magazines.

Carney says his focus is on hand gun violence in Wilmington, Dover, Seaford and other areas, as well as straw purchases.

But he did push back on one criticism from opponents of the legislation.

"As to the claim that they will make it more difficult for Delawareans to defend themselves, I would argue that it doesn't take a large capacity magazine for anybody to defend him or herself and certainly isn't a requirement of hunters, and we have a strong hunting heritage and community here in our state," said Carney.

Carney notes any legislation would not be targeting responsible gun owners like hunters.  He adds the state does need deer hunters to help thin the herd, but they don’t need high capacity magazines to hunt.

Police force and education were also broached during the one hour show. When asked about the recent Black history bills that were passed, Carney did say he supports the concept and idea as Black history is American history, but he was nervous about the General Assembly getting involved with school curriculum. 

Joe brings over 20 years of experience in news and radio to Delaware Public Media and the All Things Considered host position. He joined DPM in November 2019 as a reporter and fill-in ATC host after six years as a reporter and anchor at commercial radio stations in New Castle and Sussex Counties.
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