Democratic Gov. John Carney said that he will allow legislation (House Bill 1 and House Bill 2) to become law repealing state-level penalties for the possession of marijuana and establishing rules for a regulated marketplace.
House Bill 1 eliminates criminal and civil penalties for the possession of personal use quantities of cannabis flower and other products, including marijuana paraphernalia, for those age 21 or older. The use of cannabis in public remains penalized under the law and underage possession of cannabis remains subject to civil fines. House Bill 2 establishes a licensing system to regulate marijuana production and retail sales. It calls for the issuance of up to 30 initial retail marijuana licenses, 30 manufacturing licenses, 60 cultivation licenses, and five testing licenses.
“Passage of this legislation is the result of years of grassroots activism by Delaware NORML and by thousands of concerned citizens,” NORML’s Deputy Director Paul Armentano said. “Further, it is a reflection of lawmakers having evolved on this issue and voting in a manner that is responsive to the will of the electorate, which overwhelmingly favor ending the failed policy of cannabis criminalization in The First State.”
Delaware NORML Executive Director Laura Sharer added: “After years of advocacy, collaboration, and grassroots organizing, we are thrilled to see cannabis legalization become a reality in our state. This victory is a result of the tireless work of thousands of volunteers, dozens of lawmakers, and with the support of a huge majority of our Delaware community. So many have championed this righteous cause and recognized the need for sensible cannabis policy reform.”
The Governor indicated that he will allow both bills to become law absent his signature. The Governor last year vetoed a bill similar to HB 1.
“I came to this decision because I believe we’ve spent far too much time focused on this issue, when Delawareans face more serious and pressing concerns every day,” he said. “It’s time to move on.”
Additional information is available from the Facebook page of Delaware NORML.