On Thursday, we notified you that HB 305, the bill to legalize recreational marijuana in Delaware, was being heard on the House Floor.

What happened in that hearing was definitely “one for the books.” 

 

Here’s What Happened:

 

Before a bill is presented to the full chamber and voted on, any legislator has the opportunity to propose amendments. Once an amendment is introduced, all legislators in that chamber vote on it. If it passes, it is added to the bill.

The first two amendments to HB 305 were from Democrat legislators and each passed. Then, Rep. Mike Smith, a Republican in New Castle County, proposed four amendments back-to-back that would be sensible additions. However, each amendment was quickly voted down by every Democrat legislator.

At one point, a newer legislator, Rep. Moore (D), mistakenly voted yes to one of Rep. Smith’s (R) amendments, to which you could hear chuckles from her colleagues as she fixed her “mistake” and quickly changed her vote to a “no.”

A couple minutes later, Rep. Chuckwuocha (D) was having audio issues and didn’t hear which amendments were being voted on – so he asked. That’s when I heard House Leader Rep. Longhurst (D) say in response, “Tell him it’s Rep. Smith, then he’ll know.”

In other words, vote no, because it’s an “R” amendment.

After his four amendments were heard, Rep. Smith made the final closing comment, which felt like a “mic drop moment.”

He stated strongly that he’d been planning to vote for legalization, knowing that a 3/5 vote was needed to pass it (3/5 needed because the bill has financial implications). His vote was needed especially since every other Republican lawmaker was voting no.

But, he changed his mind after the demonstration of extreme partisanship after introducing his four needed and reasonable amendments. Not even a consideration was given by Democrat colleagues.

 

Then came the vote … https://bit.ly/3pWGCH0

 

Then the alphabetical roll call started and two of the Democrat lawmakers right at the front decided NOT to vote! Remember, when 3/5 majority vote is needed then a “not voting” is the same as a “no vote.” Two Republicans, decided not to vote, while all the others voted no. Then, the final vote came from Speaker Schwartzkopf (D). You could literally hear a gasp in the chamber when he voted NO! 😲

 

Here’s the exchange that occurred after Rep. Osienski apparently forgot to change his vote from ‘yes’ to ‘no’ after his bill to legalize recreational marijuana failed in the House.

Doing so would have enabled Osienski to re-introduce the bill later in the legislative session.

Just like that, the bill failed!

 

Key Takeaways

 

🌑 First, a confession. Many, myself included, thought this bill would pass which is why it was allowed to come to the Floor for a full vote. For perspective, there are 26 Democrats in the House. Even if one decided to vote against it, they still have the 3/5 majority (25 votes) needed to pass it.

 

🌑 This bill to legalize recreational marijuana has been introduced, lobbied hard, and modified each year since 2018, but consistently being presented as a benefit to “communities directly affected by prohibition.” That’s just a pretty way to say they’re going to open pot dispensaries in low-come and minority communities. As if liquor stores and Planned Parenthood aren’t enough. 😒
Recreational marijuana is NOT good policy for already struggling communities.

 

🌑 Never choose silence because you think, “We’re going to lose anyway so why bother.”  At the end of the day, our voices and principled stand is of value no matter the circumstances.

🌑 COURAGE IS CONTAGIOUS. It takes courage to overcome intimidation and make a well articulated principled stand. This is what Rep. Mike Smith (R) exposed. We need to pray for our legislators — Which is why we are so committed as an organization to our TPW initiative.

As we move forward and prepare for even bigger battles, let’s pray this together, “Lord I believe and help my unbelief.” (Mark 9:24)

Join our efforts to infuse courage throughout all of Delaware. When you stand with us, our voice is amplified! Support the work of Delaware Family Policy Council. 

 

Nandi Randolph
Policy Analyst
Delaware Family Policy Council
Nandi@DelawareFamilies.org

 

P.S. If you didn’t see our text alert yesterday to send in your comment, make sure we have your cell number so you don’t miss the next one! Just text Wendy at 302-296-8698.