Delaware Becomes the 22nd State to Legalize Marijuana for Adults

Dover, DE: Legislation legalizing adult-use marijuana possession and establishing a system for licensed sales of cannabis products became law this week absent the signature of Democratic Gov. John Carney.

House Bill 1 eliminates civil penalties for the possession of personal use quantities of cannabis flower and other products, including marijuana paraphernalia, for those age 21 or older. (Personal use under the law is defined as one ounce or less of cannabis flower, 12 grams or less of concentrated cannabis, or edible cannabis products containing 750 milligrams or less of THC.) It also reduces penalties for marijuana-related violations for those under the age of 21 to a civil fine.

The bill became law on Sunday.

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. It took effect Thursday. 

Lawmakers had passed both bills with veto-proof majorities.

“After years of advocacy, collaboration, and grassroots organizing, we are thrilled to see cannabis legalization become a reality in our state,” said Delaware NORML Executive Director Laura Sharer. “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.”

Governor Carney, who vetoed a similar bill last year, acknowledged that he remains personally opposed to the measures, but that he would no longer stand in the way of their passage. “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 Delaware NORML.