Delaware Adult Use Cannabis Bill Features Revised Social Equity Program

Delaware’s new cannabis legalization bill would drop a proposed social equity fund, opting instead for a “Justice Reinvestment Fund,” which would provide direct aid to those communities most negatively affected by prohibition.

Full story after the jump.

A new bill to legalize adult-use cannabis has been introduced in Delaware, according to a Delaware Public Radio (DPR) report. Sponsored by Rep. Ed Osienski (D), the latest version of the bill scraps a dedicated fund to help social equity applicants for a “Justice Reinvestment Fund,” which will provide direct aid to communities disproportionately affected by cannabis prohibition. Proceeds for the fund will come from adult-use cannabis taxes, according to the report.

Known as the Delaware Marijuana Control Act, the legalization bill seeks to regulate and tax cannabis like alcohol. Under the proposal, possession limits are set at one ounce — only five grams of which can be concentrates — and homegrows are not allowed. People under 21 who are found with cannabis will be still subject to civil penalties. The Act also creates the Delaware Marijuana Control Act Oversight Committee, which will craft the state’s adult-use cannabis framework, according to the bill summary.

“So we’re really thankful that this thoughtful piece of legislation not only just legalizes cannabis, but it also begins to address the harms caused by prohibition and right those wrongs,” said Zoë Patchell, Director of the Delaware Cannabis Advocacy Network.

Patchell believes the change “strengthens the social equity component for disproportionately impacted communities” and the legislation now has “all the pillars of social equity,” including decriminalization and removing “barriers to create an inclusive and equitable industry.”

The money raised from legal cannabis sales will go toward helping with expungement, reducing cannabis arrests, and helping social equity applicants to start cannabis businesses, DPR reports.

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