Recreational marijuana was legalized in Delaware on Sunday as Democratic Gov. John Carney allowed two bills legalizing adult-use marijuana into law without his signature. The bills in House Bill 1 and House Bill 2 legalize adult possession of marijuana and establish a legal framework to regulate the production and sale of recreational cannabis. Carney, who vetoed a similar bill last year, announced late last week that he would allow the bill to pass, but added he still has reservations about the bill.
“These two laws will remove all state-level civil and criminal penalties for simple possession of marijuana and create a highly regulated industry for recreational marijuana sales in Delaware.” Kearney said in a statement Friday afternoon. “As I have consistently said, I believe that legalizing recreational marijuana is not a step forward. I support both medical marijuana and Delaware’s decriminalization laws because: Because no one should go to jail for possessing personal-use marijuana, and today they are not.”
The bill was passed by a bipartisan veto majority in both houses of the Delaware legislature last month. House Bill 1 (HB1) eliminates all penalties for possession of personal-use marijuana by adults over the age of 21. House Bill 2 (HB2) Create a regulatory framework to govern the cultivation, sale and possession of marijuana.
HB 1 went into effect on Sunday, making Delaware the 22nd state in the nation to legalize cannabis for adults. HB 2 will go into effect on Thursday, according to the governor’s announcement last week.
“After five years of countless meetings, debates, negotiations and conversations, Delaware has reached the point where a growing number of states have legalized and regulated adult recreational marijuana for personal use. Thank you,” said Rep. Ed Osienski, sponsor of both bills, said in a statement After Carney announced he would pass the bill. “We know that more than 60% of Delawareans support legalizing recreational marijuana for adults, and more than two-thirds of the General Assembly agreed.” .”
Carney’s veto on last year’s cannabis legalization bill was the first such move by a Democratic governor. And while he acquiesces that the bill is inevitable by being enacted this year, he said he’s still against the idea.
“I want to be clear that my views on this matter have not changed, and I understand that there are those who share my views who are disappointed with my decision not to oppose this legislation,” Carney said. “I have come to this decision because I believe that the people of Delaware have spent too much time focusing on this issue at a time when they face more serious and pressing concerns every day. Because I think it’s time to move on.”
The governor added that despite his personal objections, he respected the legislative process and allowed the cannabis legalization bill to become law. Osienki praised the position Kearney is taking this year and vowed to help make a smooth transition to legal cannabis in Delaware.
“I understand that the governor is personally against legalization, especially for listening to the thousands of residents who support this initiative and allow it to be passed. Thank you,” he added. “I am committed to working with the administration to ensure that efforts to establish regulatory processes proceed as smoothly as possible.”
Brian Vicente, founding partner of Vicente LLP, a cannabis and psychedelics law firm, said the law is another milestone in the move to reform U.S. cannabis policy, with more to come in 2023. Progress is expected, he added.
“Each state that legalizes cannabis is an important step in our country’s journey to marijuana reform, and Delaware’s recent move to legalize is no exception. It won a veto majority, which shows that Delaware’s elected representatives, like citizens, broadly support cannabis reform. high times“Delaware will send two U.S. Senators and one U.S. Representative to Washington, D.C. to represent state interests, including the protection of the adult-use cannabis regulatory system. The 22nd state, Minnesota, which is actively discussing legalization in the state legislature, could soon join, as each state’s legalization would force the federal government to align cannabis policies with states. It brings our country closer to the tipping point.”