Delaware’s medicinal cannabis market has been up and running since 2014, but this could be the year we see the state move to adult-use legalization.
Two Bills, One Goal
Delaware has had it rough when it comes to legalizing adult-use cannabis. The announcement of the medicinal use market raised everyone’s hopes that a flourishing adult-use market would soon follow. But then, nothing.
Medicinal cannabis has been legal since 2014 in the state of Delaware, meaning that for almost a decade, we’ve seen little to no progress regarding the adult-use market. That is, until now.
Delaware lawmakers have recently filed two bills in the State House of Representatives: One bill is aimed at legalizing small amounts of recreational marijuana for personal use (one ounce or less per person over the age of 21, to be exact). The other will be used to create and regulate the adult-use cannabis industry in the state.
Delaware is one of the last remaining Democratic states that hasn’t legalized adult-use cannabis. No thanks to Gov. John Carney, a Democrat who’s been fiercely opposed to cannabis legalization, even though the national stance of his party is one of widespread legalization.
The new legislation would grant access to people who’ve been disproportionately affected by cannabis prohibition in the state.
How’s It lookin’, doc?
We don’t know exactly when we can expect adult-use cannabis to become legalized in Delaware. It really all depends on how the next few years go. While there is large public support behind adult-use legalization, Gov. John Carney will still be in office for the next two years, and this could see the adult-use market being stalled until his replacement steps in.
While there are no official statements on how much the state could make once the adult-use market gets up and running, we’re been seeing their medical marijuana industry growing at a rapid rate over the last 5 years, so we can only expect to see similar results with the adult-use market.
Legal adult-use cannabis sales would be taxed like alcohol or other substances, we’re likely looking at a 15% marijuana control enforcement fee, with 7% of the revenue going to the Justice Reinvestment Fund.
At the moment we are seeing some concerns from the medical marijuana industry. While medical cannabis has grown rapidly over the last few years, the biggest concern among medical cannabis producers is that the legal market would put pressure on theirs, with some shops worrying that they may be going out of business should the bill get passed.
While these concerns do hold some water, it’s important to remember that medical marijuana operators play a key role in providing both the medical and the adult-use markets with adequate supplies.
Delaware is still in the early stages of adult-use legalization talks, and the legislature isn’t due until June 30, so there’s still plenty of time for lawmakers to refine the details and rework the legislation.
The bottom line is that adult-use legalization in Delaware is coming. Maybe not today, or tomorrow, but it is coming. We’re seeing a domino effect with legalization in other states. It’s what the people want. Legalization also brings huge amounts of revenue to the state, so that’s going to be a driving factor when lawmakers decide on the legislation.
While Carney may be against it, his party isn’t, and we’re hoping to see internal pressure from other democrats push him into legalizing adult-use cannabis in the state.
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