Will The House Pass Delaware’s Cannabis Legalization Bill?
A new piece of cannabis legislation in the state of Delaware will make its way to the House floor later this week. This new bill will be to legalize cannabis in the state which came after advancing out of another committee late last week. Rep. Edward Osienski who is sponsoring this cannabis bill would permit those 21 years of age to purchase marijuana products. As well those who are of legal age would be able to possess up to 28 grams of cannabis. In addition, another stipulation of this bill is no home cultivation is allowed.
Back in March, this bill passed its first committee, and just last week it made its way through the House Appropriations Committee. Yet while advocates are enthusiastic about its advancement, others do not feel the same. For example state’s Democratic governor is still opposed to adult-use legalization.
HB 150 would introduce a 15 percent sales tax on marijuana sales. As well the revenue would be allocated to handle the administrative costs of the adult-use program. The state lawmakers would then determine how the unused tax money should be used.
A group would need to be formed to oversee regulations and make sure the market is run efficiently. Hence establishing The Delaware Marijuana Control Act Oversight Committee would carry out the above task. Regulators would be able to approve up to 30 retail business licenses, 30 manufacturing licenses. As well as 60 cultivation permits, and five laboratory testing licenses for the first almost the first year and a half of implementation.
The Next Step For Cannabis Legislation In Delaware
“We applaud members of the House Appropriations Committee for clearing HB 150 for a vote by the full House of Representatives,” Olivia Naugle, legislative analyst for the Marijuana Policy Project (MPP), told Marijuana Moment. “A strong majority of Delawareans support legalization, and we hope that the House of Representatives will listen to their constituents and approve HB 150 later this week.”
Now, this current legislation does include stipulations in regards to social equity business licensing. The determination of who qualifies for social equity business licensing is at risk of being scaled back. This is because the bill was revised where it would remove having been convicted of a marijuana-related offense. As well as being a family member to someone with such a conviction as a criterion.
Among other modifications, filed by Rep. Jeffrey Spiegelman the amendment, would also eliminate the creation of a fund to provide financial aid. Which could have been used to help low-interest loans and grants—for social equity businesses. Conveyed together, those recommended revisions are obtaining strong pushback from those in support of cannabis reform.
Naugle mentioned that that MPP stands against the potential changes.
“This amendment would gut the critical social equity components of HB 150. Cannabis prohibition has caused tremendous harm—disproportionately in communities of color,” she said. “To ensure cannabis is legalized equitably in Delaware and is focused on the communities most impacted by the war on cannabis, HA 3 must be rejected.”
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Final Thoughts On Cannabis Reform In Delaware
Two other changes to the bill involving accreditation for cannabis testing facilities have also been filed. In order to be passed, the proposal will need a supermajority of 25 House votes to be victorious. If the bill does pass the House it would then need to as well pass the Senate. However, those aren’t the only barriers the proposal will encounter.
Gov. John Carney is a unique kind of Democratic governor. Meaning as most Democrats support cannabis reform Gov. John Carney remains against the passing of recreational cannabis. Wich back in May he reemphasized his opposition to this policy change.
“We spend all this time and money to get people to stop smoking cigarettes and now we want to say it’s okay to just smoke marijuana recreationally,” Carney said. “Look, I don’t want to sound like a prude about it, I just don’t think it’s a good idea.”
He declined to say whether he would sign or veto the bill, but called it a “bad idea.”
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