Individuals caught possessing marijuana and a firearm could be subject to felony charges in the state of Delaware.
According to a recent ruling by Superior Court Judge Paul R. Wallace, although the state of Delaware decriminalized marijuana possession in 2015, the state legislature failed to remove a law that made it a felony to simultaneously possess a firearm and a controlled substance.
“The legislature might choose to eliminate non-criminal marijuana possession as an element of that compound weapons crime,” Wallace wrote. “But, the legislature has not done so. And, this court cannot do so in its stead.”
The ruling was the result of a 2016 case involving a 21-year-old man named Imeir Murray. While conducting an unrelated arrest warrant in Murray’s home, police found less than an ounce of marijuana in Murray’s bedroom along with a handgun that was kept on an upper shelf in his closet.
Murray was subsequently arrested and charged with possession of marijuana and possession of a firearm by a person prohibited. Although Murray was eventually cleared of all firearm charges, Wallace nonetheless felt the need to issue the opinion.
Speaking with Delaware Online, Matthew Buckworth, Murray’s lawyer, said that he is hopeful that this case will help spur the legislature to make changes to the state law.
“I think changing the law is so important because he’s a very good kid,” Buckworth said. “He has a full-time job, and this could have really messed him up. That doesn’t seem like the intent of the legislation.”