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Legalizing Weed: Key Players in Delaware's Legalization of Industrial Hemp Farming

By    |   Sunday, 13 Dec 2015 02:00 AM

The United States government banned the cultivation of hemp in 1957 in an effort to crack down on marijuana use, but the drug isn't the only thing for which the plant is used. In fact, it's valued as a food source and in the manufacture of textiles, prompting many states to begin legalizing hemp in recent years. Delaware joined this roster in 2013, legalizing weed for medical purposes.

The following state officials have played crucial roles in the effort to legalize industrial hemp cultivation in the state.

Urgent: Should Marijuana Be Legalized in All States?

1. State Rep. Dave Wilson (R-Bridgeville)
In 2014, State Rep. Dave Wilson began pushing for the state to legalize the production of hemp for research purposes, as reported by Newsworks. Wilson's plan, called House Bill 385, would allow colleges and universities, along with the state's Department of Agriculture, to establish pilot programs for industrial hemp farming. The site quotes Wilson as saying "Twelve states already have it. I don't see why it wouldn't work in the state of Delaware."

2. Rep. Helene Keeley (D-Wilmington South)
Rep. Helene Keeley introduced House Bill 39, which Gov. Jack Markell signed into law in June 2015, The Daily Chronic reported. While not directly related to industrial hemp farming, the bill changed the way the state treated marijuana, which is related to the hemp plant. The bill decriminalized the possession of small amounts of marijuana. Instead of jail time, offenders now face a small fine similar to what they would receive for a traffic violation.

3. Delaware Gov. Jack Markell
Gov. Markell has signed into law several bills easing restrictions on both hemp and marijuana. This includes House Bill 385 and House Bill 39. It also includes Senate Bill 17, passed in 2011, which legalized medical marijuana, as reported by The Daily Chronic. While these bills don't directly affect the state's industrial hemp industry, they do reflect openness on the governor's part in regards to easing restrictions on cannabis and hemp. Any bills related to industrial hemp farming would require the governor's signature to become law, and he could veto anything he vehemently opposed. However, he has so far indicated a willingness to change the state's hemp and marijuana laws.

VOTE NOW: Is Delaware Sen. Chris Coons Doing a Good Job?

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The United States government banned the cultivation of hemp in 1957 in an effort to crack down on marijuana use. But the plant is valued as a food source and in the manufacture of textiles, prompting states such as Delaware to legalize hemp.
legalizing weed, Delaware, hemp farming, players
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2015-00-13
Sunday, 13 Dec 2015 02:00 AM
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