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Drug Sentencing Reform Bill Passes Delaware House

Submitted by Phillip Smith on (Issue #675)
Drug War Issues
Politics & Advocacy

The Delaware House of Representatives Tuesday overwhelmingly approved a comprehensive drug sentencing reform bill. The bill, House Bill 19, would, most notably, make simple drug possession offenses misdemeanors. Drug possession is currently a felony.

Drug sentencing reform is moving in Dover. (Image via Wikimedia)
It also does away with the current possession with intent to distribute and distribution offenses and replaces them with aggravated possession and drug dealing. Judges would exercise more discretion in sentencing, with sentences being increased if certain aggravating factors, such as proximity to a school or the involvement of juveniles, are present.

The bill also reduces the size of "drug-free zones" near schools, day care centers, or churches from 1,000 feet to 300 feet. It removes proximity to a church as an aggravating factor if the church does not have a school or day care center.

On the other hand, the bill creates a new felony offense of possessing firearms while possessing drugs. It also increases penalties for dealing prescription drugs.

The bill passed the House 39-1. It now goes to the state Senate.

Permission to Reprint: This content is licensed under a modified Creative Commons Attribution license. Content of a purely educational nature in Drug War Chronicle appear courtesy of DRCNet Foundation, unless otherwise noted.

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