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Ken Lund

After failing to gain enough support to pass a recreational cannabis measure, Delaware’s legislature has created a “Cannabis Task Force” that will study the legalization issue and recommend a course of action by January, according to a report from NewsWorks.

The legalization measure was sponsored by Rep. Helene Keeley, who argued that taxing and regulating cannabis sales would help the state bridge its $386 million budget gap as her colleagues debate ways to cut spending during a special post-June 30th session. Keeley, a Democrat, said she was just a few votes short in the bid to legalize cannabis for adult use this session and the task force is a compromise.

The task force aims to provide insight into how local authorities and control agencies would deal with any issues related to legalization, including impaired driving, taxation, and substance abuse prevention. Keeley’s bill would model the industry similarly to existing alcohol laws in the state.

According to the report, Democratic Gov. John Carney doesn’t fully back the plan, but previously held a series of town hall meeting for citizens to express their opinions on the issue. Kelley’s bill would allow adults 21-and-old and older to purchase cannabis products and legally possess up to 1 ounce of flower and 5 grams of concentrates.

Keeley has estimated that a legal cannabis market could generate $22 million in revenue during its first year in operation.

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