Gov. Carney will allow 2 marijuana legalization bills to become law

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Delaware Gov. John Carney on Friday will allow two bills that pave the way for legalized recreational marijuana to become law without his signature. Carney stated that his views on cannabis have not changed and he remains concerned about the impact of legalization on young people and low income neighborhoods.

Carney issued the following statement in explaining his decision:

“In the coming days, I will allow House Bill 1 and House Bill 2 to be enacted into Delaware law without my signature. These two pieces of legislation remove all state-level civil and criminal penalties from simple marijuana possession and create a highly regulated industry to conduct recreational marijuana sales in Delaware. As I’ve consistently said, I believe the legalization of recreational marijuana is not a step forward. I support both medical marijuana and Delaware’s decriminalization law because no one should go to jail for possessing a personal use quantity of marijuana. And today, they do not.

“I want to be clear that my views on this issue have not changed. And I understand there are those who share my views who will be disappointed in my decision not to veto this legislation. I came to this decision because I believe we’ve spent far too much time focused on this issue, when Delawareans face more serious and pressing concerns every day. It’s time to move on.

“I remain concerned about the consequences of a recreational marijuana industry in our state. I’m concerned especially about the potential effects on Delaware’s children, on the safety of our roadways, and on our poorest neighborhoods, where I believe a legal marijuana industry will have a disproportionately negative impact. Those concerns are why I could not put my signature to either House Bill 1 or House Bill 2.

“I recognize that many legislators disagree – and I respect the legislative process. I also do not believe prolonging debate on this issue best serves Delawareans. Delaware families want great schools for their kids. They want good jobs and affordable, safe communities free of crime. And they expect – rightly so – that we’ll spend taxpayer dollars in a way that’s both responsible and sustainable. That’s where we should focus our time and energy in the weeks and months ahead.

“As we implement House Bill 1 and House Bill 2, we will do everything in our power to protect children from accessing marijuana and marijuana-related products; prevent Delawareans and Delaware visitors from driving under the influence of marijuana; and closely evaluate the placement of marijuana dispensaries and other businesses, to ensure they do not become a blight on already disadvantaged communities. My goal will be to ensure that Delaware has a robust regulatory system that protects the interests of the most vulnerable Delawareans, to avoid the many challenges we’ve seen in other states, and to get back to focusing on issues that are most important for Delaware families.”