Adult cannabis use is now legal in Delaware after Gov. John Carney (D) allowed the legislature-approved bills to become law without his signature on Sunday. In a statement, Carney said the bills “remove all state-level civil and criminal penalties from simple marijuana possession and create a highly regulated industry” but said the reforms are “not a step forward.”
“I support both medical marijuana and Delaware’s decriminalization law because no one should go to jail for possessing a personal use quantity of marijuana. And today, they do not. I want to be clear that my views on this issue have not changed. And I understand there are those who share my views who will be disappointed in my decision not to veto this legislation. 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. It’s time to move on.” — Carney in a press release
Carney added that he remains “concerned” about adult-use legalization and that the industry “will have a disproportionately negative impact” on children, roadway safety, and on the state’s poorest neighborhoods.”
Under the law, a 15% tax will be applied to adult-use cannabis sales and the state will license up to 30 dispensaries, 30 manufacturers, 60 cultivators, and five testing labs. Sales are not expected to commence in the state until August 2024. The bills do not include home grow provisions.
“As we implement House Bill 1 and House Bill 2, we will do everything in our power to protect children from accessing marijuana and marijuana-related products; prevent Delawareans and Delaware visitors from driving under the influence of marijuana; and closely evaluate the placement of marijuana dispensaries and other businesses, to ensure they do not become a blight on already disadvantaged communities,” Carney said in a statement. “My goal will be to ensure that Delaware has a robust regulatory system that protects the interests of the most vulnerable Delawareans, to avoid the many challenges we’ve seen in other states, and to get back to focusing on issues that are most important for Delaware families.”
State Rep. Ed Osienski (D), the chief sponsor of the legalization bills, said in a statement that he understands the governor’s “personal opposition to legalization” but appreciates “him listening to the thousands of residents who support this effort and allowing it to become law.”
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