For the second time this legislative session, members of the House addressed legislation to establish a regulated, adult-use cannabis market.
House Bill 372, the Delaware Marijuana Control Act, provides for commercial production and sale of marijuana by state-licensed entities.
Earlier this year, House members failed to advance similar legislation by two votes. Because the measure establishes new tax structures, it requires a three-fifths majority to advance, which it again failed to meet today. Today, the author engaged in a procedural effort that allows the bill to be put back on the agenda at a later date. The House floor is expected to address the issue again in June, after their break.
Laura Sharer, Executive Director for Delaware NORML, said: “Legalizing cannabis is about more than just allowing recreational use or the money that can be made. It’s about undoing a century of racist policy that disproportionately targeted Black and Latino communities. It’s about rebuilding the communities that have suffered the most harm. And it’s about ensuring that everyone has access to the opportunities that the legal cannabis market provides.”
Complementary legislation, HB 371, depenalizing the possession of up to one ounce of marijuana for adults and allowing for adults to transfer cannabis among themselves within the possession limits and without remuneration, has passed both chambers and now awaits action from Democratic Gov. John Carney. A spokesman for the Governor has said that he will review the bill, but that the Governor remains largely opposed to legalization. He has until May 31 to act on it.
“Legalization has been a difficult hurdle for the Delaware legislature for a few cycles,” said Jax James, NORML’s State Policy Manager. “It is imperative that HB 371 be signed into law so the consequences of prohibition can cease immediately. The legalization of cannabis possession, the creation of a regulated market, and provisions from the Justice Reinvestment Funds will begin the process of reversing decades of discriminatory, harmful, and fundamentally unfair cannabis laws.”