It is no longer illegal to possess small quantities of marijuana in Delaware. Gov. John Carney opted not to sign or veto bills that make Delaware the 22nd state to legalize recreational cannabis for those of legal drinking age. Delaware had earlier taken away criminal penalties for simple possession.
Selling marijuana is another story with the state to spend more than a year in drawing up regulations and setting up an enforcement system. A similar process is underway in Maryland, with New Jersey now offering retail sales.
The legislation includes carveouts for small and start-up businesses rather than simply turning over sales to a growing number of medical marijuana providers and growers.
Growing your own marijuana will remain illegal, and selling marijuana will also be against the law, although charges will require possession of larger amounts, scales, and related paraphernalia.
Rep. Ed Osienski, D-Newark-Brookside, the longtime sponsor of legalization
“After five years of countless meetings, debates, negotiations, and conversations, I’m grateful we have reached the point where Delaware has joined a growing number of states that have legalized and regulated adult recreational marijuana for personal use. We know that more than 60% of Delawareans support the legalization of marijuana for adult recreational use, and more than two-thirds of the General Assembly agreed.
“I understand the governor’s personal opposition to legalization, so I especially appreciate him listening to the thousands of residents who support this effort and allowing it to become law. I am committed to working with the administration to ensure that the effort to establish the regulatory process goes as smoothly as possible.
“I have to thank my colleagues for standing together on this issue and contributing their input into the process. We have arrived at a stronger law, and Delaware will be better for it. I especially have to thank all the advocates who rallied for these bills and were patient as we negotiated, poked, prodded and cajoled our way to gaining enough support to pass the Marijuana Control Act. We’ve reached the mountaintop, and it feels great to finally get there. I hope everyone enjoys the moment.”
Smart Approaches to Marijuana condemns Carneys ‘lack of courage’
Smart Approaches to Marijuana (SAM) CEO and former Obama drug policy advisor Dr. Kevin Sabet and SAM co-founder and former Rep. Patrick Kennedy (D-RI) released the following statements in response to Delaware Gove. John Carney’s decision to allow marijuana commercialization to become legal without his signature.
“Governor Carney’s decision to let marijuana legalization pass without his signature, apparently because he was afraid of a veto, was the wrong one, and even he knows it. In the same breath as stating he will let it happen, the Governor rightly stated that legalization is not in the best interests of Delawareans. That speaks volumes. The medical data from pot-legal states is clear that today’s commercial marijuana is more potent, more addictive, and more dangerous than ever, particularly to young people,” Sabet said.
Rep. Kennedy added: “I was prepared to nominate Gov. Carney for a JFK Profiles in Courage award for the political courage it would have taken to stand up to corporate marijuana. But I’m sorry I won’t be able to. He knew it was wrong but caved in the end to the power of the new Big Tobacco. History will not record either his decision nor our country’s decision to create a whole new addiction-for-profit industry. Unfortunately, he ultimately gave in to political expediency. Political courage is rare and it’s the reason President Kennedy so admired it.”
Delaware Cannabis Action Network (social media post)
The First State will become the 22nd state to legalize cannabis for adults. There are so many thanks to give for the enormous amount of time and effort that went into making this happen.
A huge thank you to Representative Ed Osienski and Senator Trey Paradee for their stellar, steadfast leadership and championing this reform on behalf of the people!! Also, big thanks to all of the co-sponsors of HB 1 and HB2, as well as the 2/3rds of the House and 3/4ths of the Senate who voted to support the bills.
We also send a huge thanks to our dedicated team, advocates, coalition members, volunteers, donors, supporters, small local businesses who supported us and the thousands of people who used their voices by taking action. We are so thankful for the THOUSANDS of Delawareans who stood with us over this decade-long fight and helped end a bad public policy in Delaware.
Also, special thank you to retired Senator Margret Rose Henry and Rep. Helen Keeley who started the legislative fight years ago – first on medical, then on Decrim, and then by getting the whole thing started on adult-use legislation.
It took the collective efforts of so many over the last decade to finally accomplish this reform.
More thanks to come. And stay tuned for our next steps!!