Delaware Legislature Passes Cannabis Legalization Bills

The Delaware Senate passed House-approved adult-use cannabis legalization bills yesterday, sending the legislation to Gov. John Carney (D) who vetoed a similar legalization measure last summer.

Full story after the jump.

The Delaware Senate on Tuesday approved bills to legalize cannabis use and possession by adults and create a system to license dispensaries, the Associated Press reports. The approval sets up a potential showdown with Democratic Gov. John Carney, who last summer vetoed a measure to legalize cannabis possession by adults.

“The governor continues to have strong concerns about the unintended consequences of legalizing marijuana for recreational use in our state, especially about the impacts on our young people and highway safety. He knows others have honest disagreements on this issue.” — Carney’s office in a statement

The possession bill passed 16-4, which would survive a Carney veto. Last session, the House was unable to override Carney’s veto, with a 20-20 vote. The bill to set up a cannabis marketplace in the state required a three-fifths majority to pass because it creates a new tax – it passed the Senate 15-5 on a party-line vote. The three-fifths threshold is also the requirement to override a governor’s veto.

If the regulation measure becomes law, the state could issue 30 initial retail licenses, 30 manufacturing licenses, 60 cultivation licenses, and five testing licenses. The bill includes special licenses for social equity and microbusiness applicants.

Residents would not be allowed to grow their own cannabis under either measure. They would be allowed to possess up to an ounce in public.

The Delaware House passed the bills earlier this month and they move next to Carney’s desk.

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