Delaware Public Media

Legislation legalizing recreational pot fails in Delaware House

Jun 27, 2018

Legislation legalizing recreational cannabis came up a few votes short in the Delaware House.

This is the first time State Rep. Helene Keeley (D-Wilmington) legislation made it to the House floor. Keeley used recommendations from a task force she created last fall to amend her bill and get more support.

Her amendment also reduced the number of House votes needed from 28 to 25.

But it received just 21. Keeley, who is retiring , got emotional after the bill’s failure. But she remains confident similar legislation will eventually pass.

“I couldn’t let the advocates down tonight," she said. "I wanted them to have a vote. And I also wanted to make sure the rest of Delaware knew that we’re close.”

Five Democrats didn't vote. That included Democratic State Rep. Earl Jaques (D-Newark), who was concerned about the bill’s cost.

“Here we are one day after we passed our state budget with an unfunded mandate in this fiscal note which creates 28 new positions, two new divisions and millions of dollars in additional personnel,” Jacques said.

State Rep. Jeff Spiegelman (R-Clayton) was the only Republican to support the bill after reaching a deal with Keeley by accepting a compromise that raised the application fee, cut the excise tax and redirected the revenue from the Delaware Department of Education to the general revenue fund.