Cannabis Delaware

Adult Use Marijuana in Delaware

Adult Use Marijuana in Delaware - Marijuana Packaging

Delaware state senators are expected to vote in favor of two adult-use cannabis legalization bills this Tuesday. If approved, it will be the most significant vote in the recreational cannabis legalization battle for the state. Still, this result could lead to another clash with Governor John Carney, an avowed opponent of marijuana legalization.

Despite being a Democrat, Governor Carney has made it clear he opposes legalization. Carney even blocked the legalization of recreational cannabis last year after the House and the Senate passed legislation to legalize the substance.

House of Representatives Approves Cannabis Legalization Bills

Delaware’s House of Representatives approved two separate bills earlier this month. The proposed legislation would permit recreational marijuana use for individuals aged 21 and over and establish a regulated adult-use industry.

Under House Bill 1, adults aged 21 years and over would not be subject to criminal penalties for possessing one ounce or less of marijuana. On the other hand, House Bill 2 proposes a regulatory structure for the recreational weed market akin to those implemented in other states. It would also allow localities to prohibit commercial cannabis activities. 

Potential Opposition

Despite having a supermajority in the state Senate and House, the Democratic Party remains uncertain whether there is sufficient backing to override the anticipated veto from Governor Carney. Last year, no Republicans supported legalization, citing unknown health concerns and roadway safety. Furthermore, not enough lawmakers favored the initiative to override Carney’s veto on similar legislation. Several legislators who previously backed legalization chose not to contest the governor’s veto.

What’s more, the Delaware Cannabis Coalition has identified an unexpected adversary in the battle for legalization – the state’s existing medical marijuana providers. Zoe Patchell, the coalition’s director, explained that some of Delaware’s medical marijuana operators are actively lobbying against House Bills 1 and 2.

According to Patchell, medical marijuana permit holders are banding together to lobby against the legislation. The operators plan to request specific demands for their businesses before the bill becomes law. These requirements include only allowing medical marijuana permit holders to sell adult-use cannabis and getting a fast track for approval compared to other companies who might want to buy in.

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