Dear Governor Carney and Members of the 149th General Assembly,
We stand united in agreement against attempts to pass House Bill 110 to legalize and commercialize the recreational use of marijuana in Delaware. We believe it is wrong for public safety, wrong for public health and wrong for the economic welfare and development of our state.
We know proponents of recreational marijuana consistently raise medical and social justice issues – both of which have been addressed in Delaware through medical marijuana legislation and the recent decriminalization of possession of up to an ounce of marijuana. It is just not true that people are being incarcerated for simple possession of marijuana. Even prior to decriminalization in 2015, an analysis of 2013 possession of marijuana cases, the Delaware Statistical Analysis Center found that no defendants were sentenced to incarceration for possession of marijuana alone.
What we are left with are claims by proponents that simply do not stand against science and the data and evidence that is emerging from states that have recently commercialized recreational marijuana.
We see devastating consequences for Delaware, which would become the first state in the region – and first state nationally – to legislatively break federal law and further burden our public safety and health care system.
Our concerns include the following:
Public Safety - Preliminary data from states that have legalized and commercialized the recreational use of marijuana shows:
- an increase in criminal activity ranging from prostitution to burglary to motor vehicle theft
- an increase in drugged driving as well as fatal crashes involving marijuana
- an increase in “black market” and “grey market” sales of marijuana
Public Health – Data from states that have legalized and commercialized the recreational use of marijuana shows:
- a marked increase in emergency room visits and hospitalizations related to marijuana
- an increase in calls to Poison Control Centers
- an increase in marijuana use by children and teenagers
- an increase in babies born with THC in their system
- a correlation with increased homelessness
- and worsening public health indicators –such as psychosis/psychotic symptoms; depression; schizophrenia; anxiety; brain function; psychosocial functioning; child poisoning; chronic bronchitis; stroke/heart attack; future dependence; dual use substance abuse – with non-medical marijuana use
Economic Development – Preliminary data from states that have legalized and commercialized the recreational use of marijuana shows:
- major employers needing to seek out-of-state employees who can pass initial employment drug screens
- on-the-job accidents, injuries, absenteeism, and disciplinary problems increase costs for employers of marijuana users
These represent only a small sample of our broad and deep concerns.
Officials from states that have legalized and commercialized marijuana consistently offer the same advice to other states: wait for more data before deciding to make such a drastic policy and societal change.
We echo their advice and believe that Delaware’s size and location would prove especially problematic if you (and lawmakers) support legalization.
For the sake of public safety, public health, and economic development, we ask that you oppose House Bill 110.
Thank you kindly, Governor and Members of the 149th General Assembly, for consideration of our expressed viewpoints.
Keep Delaware Safe and Healthy Coalition