Group to consider ‘What if’ Marijuana Legalization Contingency

DOVER – A group of more than two dozen officials and stakeholders will soon be discussing what steps Delaware should consider if recreational marijuana is legalized.

Formed under House Concurrent Resolution 52, the 25-member Adult Use Cannabis Task Force is charged with looking at the eight states that have thus far enacted recreational marijuana laws and learning from their experience.

The group will make recommendations for the regulation and taxation of cannabis products including consumer safety, substance abuse prevention, packaging and labeling requirements, criminal concerns, banking issues, and the authority of local governments.

Among the task force members are both advocates and opponents of legalization, as well as state agency officials with no position on the issue.

“I welcome the opportunity to be on this task force,” said State Rep. Steve Smyk, R-Milton/Lewes, an outspoken opponent of the marijuana legalization legislation (House Bill 110), currently pending action in the House of Representatives.

“I have some concerns regarding driving under the influence of marijuana,” said Rep. Smyk, a former Delaware State Trooper who has twice been cited by Delaware Mothers Against Drunk Driving as a Legislator of the Year.

Rep. Steve Smyk

According to a report issued by the Rocky Mountain High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area, in the first year that retail cannabis businesses began legally operating in Colorado (2014), reports of motorists driving under the influence of the substance increased 45 percent.

“The data on marijuana-impaired driving can be argued, but there should be no debate that this is something that should be on the task force’s radar screen,” Rep. Smyk said.

Additionally, Rep. Smyk said the group should also consider safeguards against minors gaining access marijuana products purchased by adults; and what might be done to prevent marijuana users from progressing to other substances.

The task force is to begin meeting within the next month, delivering its report containing “actionable solutions” no later than February.

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