Delaware lawmakers have resubmitted a bill to legalize recreational marijuana in the state. According to a recent article in the Philadelphia Inquirer, the bill would:
- Create a state committee and marijuana commissioner position to oversee the industry and issue regulations;
- Allow adults over the age of 21 to purchase an ounce of marijuana (or five grams of concentrated marijuana as used in edibles and vape liquids);
- Authorize 50 indoor and outdoor cultivation centers, ten production facilities, 15 retail dispensaries, and five testing sites;
- Impose a $10,000 license fee every two years on dispensaries, production facilities, and testing sites;
- Impose a minimum $2,500 license fee every two years (increasing in increments of $2,500 up to $10,000 depending on the size of the facility) on cultivation facilities;
- Tax retail sales at 15%; and
- Allow employers and some residential housing (including college dorms) to prohibit marijuana use.
The bill would not allow home grown marijuana.
A similar bill failed in the Delaware House last year by four votes, with five Democratic members refusing to vote on the measure. The outcome could be the same this year. Democratic Governor John Carney does not appear supportive, with his spokesman indicating that “[t]here are still unanswered questions” regarding legalization. The Delaware Chamber of Commerce also opposes the bill because of allegedly inadequate protections for employers and the detrimental impact it may have on tourism. Democratic Attorney General Kathy Jennings has indicated her support for the bill, however, stating “I generally support legalizing marijuana as the logical answer to an outdated policy that has caused more harm than good, particularly in communities of color.”
After the string of defeats for recreational marijuana along the East Coast this year, we will be watching Delaware closely as this legislation proceeds.