Delaware Cannabis Legalization Petition

We the People hereby Petition the Honorable 149th General Assembly of the State of Delaware...

Whereas society will be safer with an end to cannabis prohibition...

Prohibition makes control impossible, leaving drug dealers in charge. Legalizing and regulating the sale of cannabis will reduce its availability to minors and cut off an important source of funding for criminal elements.

"Despite concerns that legalizing marijuana use for adults would make it easier for adolescents to get ahold of it, a new study in Washington State shows that teens find it no easier now than before the law was passed in 2012."

"Legalization of Marijuana in Washington State Shown to Have Had No Effect on Teens’ Access to Drug"
American Academy of Pediatrics, 2016.

"These findings suggest that for a large number of serious drug users, marijuana does not play the role of a 'gateway drug'. We conclude that prevention efforts which focus on alcohol and marijuana may be of limited effectiveness for youth who are at risk for serious drug abuse."

"Sequence of drug use among serious drug users: typical vs atypical progression"
Mackesy-Amiti, M.E.; Fendrich, M.; Goldstein, P.J. Drug and Alcohol Dependence, 1997.

"Marijuana consumption by Colorado high school students has dipped slightly since the state first permitted recreational cannabis use by adults, a new survey showed on Monday, contrary to concerns that legalization would increase pot use by teens. The biannual poll by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment also showed the percentage of high school students indulging in marijuana in Colorado was smaller than the national average among teens."

"Teen marijuana use in Colorado found lower than national average"
Reuters, 2016.

"Marijuana use among teens declined this year even as two states, Colorado and Washington, legalized the drug for recreational use, a national survey released Tuesday found."

"Survey: Teen marijuana use declines even as states legalize"
Donna Leinwand Leger. USA TODAY, 2014.

"Legal marijuana may be doing at least one thing that a decades-long drug war couldn't: taking a bite out of Mexican drug cartels' profits. The latest data from the U.S. Border Patrol shows that last year, marijuana seizures along the southwest border tumbled to their lowest level in at least a decade. Agents snagged roughly 1.5 million pounds of marijuana at the border, down from a peak of nearly 4 million pounds in 2009."

"Legal marijuana is finally doing what the drug war couldn’t"
Christopher Ingraham. The Washington Post, 2016.

Law Enforcement Against Prohibition envisions a world in which drug policies work for the benefit of society and keep our communities safer. A system of legalization and regulation will end the violence, better protect human rights, safeguard our children, reduce crime and disease, treat drug abusers as patients, reduce addiction, use tax dollars more efficiently, and restore the public’s respect and trust in law enforcement.

Whereas precious government resources are being wasted enforcing cannabis prohibition...

Up to $22.3 million state taxpayer dollars and countless law enforcement man-hours are spent in Delaware each year enforcing cannabis prohibition that could instead be better used in the pursuit of justice for violent crimes and crimes against property.

"The states, including the District of Columbia, that had the highest per capita fiscal expenditures enforcing marijuana possession laws in 2010 were, in order: the District of Columbia, New York, Maryland, Illinois, and Wyoming, followed closely by Nevada, Delaware, New Jersey, and Connecticut."

"The War on Marijuana in Black and White"
American Civil Liberties Union, 2013.

"Marijuana sales are now estimated in the billions of dollars per year with over two million patients, yet it remains unlawful under federal law, and there is limited and conflicting evidence about potential effects on society. We present new evidence about potential effects on crime by estimating an economic crime model following the general approach developed by Becker. Data from 11 states in the western United States are used to estimate the model and test hypotheses about potential effects on rates of violent and property crime. Fixed effects methods are applied to control for state-specific factors, with adjustments for first-order autocorrelation and cross-section heteroskedasticity. There is no evidence of negative spillover effects from medical marijuana laws (MMLs) on violent or property crime. Instead, we find significant drops in rates of violent crime associated with state MMLs."

"Medical Marijuana and Crime: Further Evidence From the Western States"
Shepard, Edward M.; Blackley, Paul R. Journal of Drug Issues, 2016.

There is evidence of a link between alcohol abuse and violent crime, including domestic violence (Markowitz & Grossman, 1998; Markowitz, 2000, 2005; Carpenter & Dobkin, 2010). Therefore, if the legalization of recreational marijuana leads to reduced alcohol consumption, we expect violent crime to fall. It is also possible that non-violent crime will fall as policing resources are freed up and reallocated (Miron & Zwiebel, 1995). Adda, McConnell, & Rasul (2011) found that non-drug crime went down after Lambeth, a borough of London, temporarily suspended arrests for marijuana possession.

"The Legalization of Recreational Marijuana: How Likely is the Worst-Case Scenario?"
Anderson, D. Mark; Rees, Daniel I. Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, 2013.

Whereas there has never been a death recorded from cannabis consumption...

Cannabis is less addictive than heroin, cocaine, alcohol, nicotine, and caffeine. Delaware is suffering from an opioid epidemic, and research shows that cannabis legalization mitigates opioid use and reduces overdose deaths.

"Jack E. Henningfield, PhD, Associate Professor of Behavioral Biology at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, and Neal L. Benowitz, MD, Chief of the Division of Clinical Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics at the University of California at San Francisco, in an Aug. 2, 1994 New York Times article titled "Is Nicotine Addictive? It Depends on Whose Criteria You Use," and Daniel M. Perrine, Phd, Associate Professor of Chemistry at Loyola College in Maryland, in his 1996 book The Chemistry of Mind-Altering Drugs: History, Pharmacology, and Cultural Context, ranked the addictiveness of six drugs, with 1 being the most addictive, as shown in the chart..."

"Addictiveness of Marijuana vs. Five Commonly Used Drugs"
Markoff, Steven C. Addictiveness of Marijuana, 2003.

"Overdose effects: No death from overdose of marijuana has been reported."

"Drug Fact Sheet: Marijuana"
Drug Enforcement Agency, 2016.

"Substituting cannabis for one or more of alcohol, illicit drugs or prescription drugs was reported by 87% (n=410) of respondents, with 80.3% reporting substitution for prescription drugs, 51.7% for alcohol, and 32.6% for illicit substances. Respondents who reported substituting cannabis for prescription drugs were more likely to report difficulty affording sufficient quantities of cannabis, and patients under 40 years of age were more likely to substitute cannabis for all three classes of substance than older patients."

"Substituting cannabis for prescription drugs, alcohol and other substances among medical cannabis patients: The impact of contextual factors."
Lucas; Walsh; Crosby; Callaway; Belle-Isle; Kay; Capler; Holtzman. Drug and Alcohol Review, 2016.

"States with medical cannabis laws had a 24.8% lower mean annual opioid overdose mortality rate (95% CI, −37.5% to −9.5%; P = .003) compared with states without medical cannabis laws."

"Medical Cannabis Laws and Opioid Analgesic Overdose Mortality in the United States, 1999-2010"
Bachhuber, Marcus A.; Saloner, Brendan; Cunningham, Chinazo O. Journal of the American Medical Association, 2014.

Whereas the current policy of cannabis prohibition is an abject failure...

Cannabis use is mainstream and widespread in today's society. Throughout recorded history, humans have utilized cannabis extensively as a common plant for a variety of purposes: spiritual, medicinal, industrial, and recreational. Cannabis prohibition was a political mistake; legalizing cannabis is common sense.

Therefore be it Resolved that We the People require the General Assembly to Recognize the Natural Right of the People to cultivate and use Cannabis and Act to End Cannabis Prohibition within the State of Delaware in the year 2018.

Sign the Petition