The bill to create a taxed and regulated cannabis industry in Delaware fell two votes short in the House as one of the co-sponsors was absent for the vote, WHYY reports. The legislation required a three-fifths majority to pass and the bill’s primary sponsor, state Rep. Ed Osienski (D), changed his vote to “no” – a procedural move that will allow the proposal to be brought again before the General Assembly as bills that fail by just one vote cannot be considered a second time.
No Republicans voted for the bill along with just one Democrat – the final vote was 23-15 with two absent and one abstention. That bill required a three-fifths majority to pass the Legislature because it imposes a 15% sales tax on cannabis sales.
The vote comes a week after the Senate sent a decriminalization bill to Gov. John Carney (D). The tax-and-regulate effort was part of a two-pronged approach to enacting broad adult-use reforms in the state. Carney has expressed support for the decriminalization bill – although he has not said whether he will sign it into law.
Following the vote, Zoë Patchell, executive director of the Delaware Cannabis Advocacy Network, called the bill’s failure “quite disappointing.”
“It’s so disappointing because you have significant public support for this bill, and because of the three-fifths majority, we keep coming up short.” – Patchell to WHYY
Under the decriminalization bill on Carney’s desk, possession and use by adults would be legalized while possession of non-medical cannabis by anyone under 21 would still result in a civil penalty, possession of more than one ounce, and public consumption would remain misdemeanors. The bill also allows adults to “transfer,” but not sell for payment or other consideration, an ounce or less to another adult.
The tax-and-regulate legislation would license up to 30 retailers and 15 cultivators and up to 15 manufacturing facilities, the report says. Home cultivation is not permitted under the decriminalization bill or the industry legislation.
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