Gov. John Carney of Delaware declared that he would permit the state’s proposed legislation to legalize cannabis for recreational use.
This makes Delaware the 22nd state in the union to legalize marijuana for adult use and establish a controlled market. Although it is not yet clear when sales would start, business licenses might be issued as soon as this summer.
The 15% tax rate imposed by the proposed legislation, according to lawmakers, is one of the lowest in the nation. A similar proposal was vetoed by Democrat Carney the previous year. The governor had to decide whether to veto the measures this year after they were both passed by the state General Assembly with a veto-proof majority or to allow them to take effect without his signature.
House Bill 1, which eliminates criminal sanctions for adults 21 and older who possess modest amounts of cannabis, was due from him by Saturday. HB 2, which establishes rules for the legal business, had a deadline of April 26 for action. He made the decision to return both unsigned while expressing grave concerns. In a statement issued by his office on Friday, Carney noted, “As I’ve frequently indicated, I believe the legalization of recreational marijuana is not a step forward.
“I want to be clear that my views on this issue have not changed,” he continued. “I’m still worried about what a recreational marijuana industry in our state will do to our state,” the speaker said.
Here is my statement on House Bill 1 and House Bill 2. https://t.co/zTYvPkbbZF— Governor John Carney (@JohnCarneyDE) April 21, 2023
Supporters of legalization applauded Carney’s choice.
In a statement, Toi Hutchinson, president and chief executive officer of the Marijuana Policy Project in Washington, DC, said, “We applaud Gov. Carney for not standing in the way of progress.”
“We are one step closer to ending the national prohibition of cannabis with every new state that rises to the challenge and legalizes it.” The approach followed in Vermont, whose Republican Governor Phil Scott similarly permitted adult-use legalization legislation to become law in 2020 without his signature, is comparable to Carney’s decision to legalize through inaction.
Delaware, the third-smallest state in the country and the place where President Joe Biden was born, has joined neighboring states New Jersey and Maryland in legalizing cannabis use and sales. Delaware is also the home state of President Joe Biden. According to Delaware’s laws, there will only be 30 retail licenses and 30 cultivation permits that can be used for indoor or outdoor grows larger than 2,500 square feet.
In Delaware, 15 of the retail licenses are set aside for applicants who prioritize social fairness. Ten of the 30 cultivation permits are for applicants who represent social equality.