pot jars

Six members of the Delaware state House flipped their votes, dooming an attempt to override Governor John Carney's veto of a marijuana legalization bill.

HB371, which legalized possession of marijuana, passed the House 26-14 (1 absent) on May 5, but after Governor Carney vetoed the legislation on May 24, it returned to the House. 

The 26 "yes" votes would have been enough to override the veto, but six legislators who voted "yes" initially changed their votes when the veto was on the line.

Reps. Andria Bennett (D-Dover), William Carson (D-Smyrna), Sean Matthews (D-Brandywine Hundred), Mike Ramone (R-Milltown), and Jeff Spiegelman (R-Marydel) all switched from "yes" to "no" in the second vote.

House Majority Leader Val Longhurst (D-Bear) voted "yes" in May, but chose not to vote this time, despite being present in the chamber.

Bill sponsor Ed Osienski (D-Newark/Brookside) said that 61% of Delawareans support legalizing marijuana, despite the governor's pre-election stance against it.

"The governor has made it clear he wishes us to wait until 2025, but the majority of Delawareans don't agree."

Osienski added that 21 states plus the District of Columbia have passed forms of marijuana legalization, and that none of those laws have been repealed.

"Nobody has come back and said, 'We need to repeal this.' They have learned a way to work out the problems, and I know Delaware is capable of that."

None of the six legislators who switched their votes spoke on the House floor before Tuesday's tally.

HB371's failure matches the fate of HB372, the Marijuana Control Act, which would have set up a tax structure for the assumed legal substance.

That failed in the House despite a 24-14 result that included two absent and one not voting.