by Travis C | May 25, 2022 | 420 News, Blog, Cannabis Law, Cannabis Law and Compliance, Cannabis News, Legalization, Politics
Delaware Gov. John Carney announced Tuesday that he would veto the state Legislature’s historic passage of a bill fully decriminalizing possession of small amounts of marijuana.
Cannabis possession of small amounts has been partly decriminalized in the state since 2015, when the state legislature made possession a civil infraction with a $100 fine. House Bill 371 would go further by removing “all penalties for possession of 1 ounce or less of marijuana, except for those who are under 21 years of age,” as well as eliminating penalties for people over 21 who transfer one ounce or less of marijuana “without remuneration.”
While Carney said that he supports medical cannabis and decriminalization, but claimed “long-term health and economic impacts of recreational marijuana use, as well as serious law enforcement concerns” as his reason for not approving the measure.
Legislators who fought for the bill’s passage are dismayed by the veto. Rep. Ed Osienski (D–Newark) said in a statement that he is “deeply disappointed” with the outcome, “especially since [Carney] could have allowed the bill to become law without his signature, which would have preserved both his personal opposition and the will of the residents and legislators.”
Osienski also said that preventing legalization is not going to stop people from seeking out cannabis illicitly. They will just be punished for it.
Former Rep. Patrick Kennedy (D–R.I.) framed Carney’s veto as a stand against Big Tobacco, saying “[t]oday is a win for public health, the citizens of Delaware, and common sense. Political leaders in Delaware have a rich history of standing up to Big Tobacco and marijuana is simply Big Tobacco’s new marketing strategy.”
H.B. 371 was introduced by Osienski in March. It passed in the Delaware House and Senate earlier this month. It was introduced alongside H.B. 372, which would have set up a tax-and-regulate system with licenses for sellers and growers. However, the latter bill was defeated this week by just two votes. If H.B. 371 were to become law without H.B. 372, it’s conceivable that Delaware could develop a “gifting” retail economy similar to the one used in Washington, D.C.
by Travis C | May 17, 2022 | Blog, Cannabis Law, Cannabis Law and Compliance, Cannabis News, Legalization, Marijuana, Politics
A bill that would allow personal possession of cannabis for adult-use in Delaware has passed through the legislature. However the state’s governor has already said he does not support cannabis legalization.
Delaware’s Senate gave final approval to the bill legalizing possession of up to one ounce of marijuana by adults for recreational use in the second week of May. The legislation cleared the Senate 13-7 with the vote holding on party lines.
Sen. Bruce Ennis of Smyrna, a retired state trooper, was the only Democrat joining Republicans in opposing the bill. The bill passed the Democrat-controlled House on a 26-14 vote the week before.
Now the bill heads to the desk of Governor John Carney (D) who has expressed his opposition to legal cannabis in the past.
However he hasn’t spoken specifically on whether he would sign a legalization bill that made it to his desk.
“We’ll review the bill, but the governor’s position hasn’t changed,” Carney spokeswoman Emily David said after the vote.
Delaware cannabis laws currently impose a $100 fine for possession of an ounce or less if the user is 21 or older. The new legislation, if passed, would remove this provision.
Anyone under the age of 21 would still receive a civil penalty for possession, and public consumption and possession of more than one ounce would remain a misdemeanor. While the new bill would legalize possession, consumers would not be allowed to directly sell cannabis to other consumers.
However consumers will be allowed to “transfer” cannabis products between each other legally. Without a regulated industry to go along with it, this bill’s passing would likely lead to a gift/donation industry similar to Washington DC.
Cannabis was legalized in DC in 2015, however legislative barriers prevent a regulated industry from being established. There is now a thriving grey market that operates through a gifting and donating loophole in the law.
A separate bill to establish and regulate a recreational cannabis has also passed through two House committees and is awaiting consideration by the full chamber. Sen. Trey Paradee, the chief sponsor of the bill, has said that he would want his bill which already passed through the legislature to be vetoed should the partner legislation for a regulated industry not make it through as well.
Whether the governor will wait for the partner legislation to pass before deciding on the initial bill or not is yet to be seen. However without a legal industry framework to support it, in addition to the governor’s voiced opposition to legal cannabis, the odds of either bill passing in the near future seem unlikely.