It wasn’t long ago when Delaware legalized medical marijuana. Now about 8 years later, the road to fully legalizing marijuana in the state has never been so clear. While there are still lots of hurdles to pass through, the possibility of full legalization doesn’t seem so bleak.
Could the state really legalize recreational marijuana? The debate is still on and either parties seem to be equipped with the right words to say. Let’s look into the current happenings and what could be the possible events a few days from now.
Current Situation in DE
Just a year ago, a measure that proposed to legalize marijuana was defeated by just four votes. It was sponsored by the former state representative, Helene Keeley. Since then, efforts have been made to push with the measures.
Last June 5, a bill was able to clear a House committee in the latest General Assembly in Delaware. This meant that marijuana might be legalized for those who are 21 years old and older.
During the assembly, members of the state in the Finance Committee and House Revenue listened to the points of both supports and opponents. Two hours of debate points thrown here and there were both to express just how much it could affect public health and safety in the long run.
The strongest point from the supporters was that it would be taking marijuana away from the hands of the black market and into legal regulation which will put an end to disparities, especially between races who are arrested for possession.
The supporters wanted to point out that the industry already exists and that the best way to go would be to give the reins of the industry to the state which can expand the industry in the state, create more jobs, and increase the revenue it’s already getting.
Opponents, on the other hand, testified that there are repercussions to marijuana usage, especially on one’s mental and physical health. Division of Public Health Director, Dr. Karyl Rattay said that users might use this as a gateway drug.
Other issues raised were road dangers, saying that there could be no guarantee on which drivers were high and driving. As being expounded, this poses as a strong public safety threat for all members of the state.
Contents of the Proposal
It’s not yet clear on whether the bill actually gets approved but it sure does seem to be surpassing challenges quite easily. Now, let’s take a look at the contents of the proposal and what might happen if the bill will be passed.
If ever the bill gets approved and the state goes full on legal with marijuana, the marijuana industry in the state will be overseen by a committee appointed by the state to specifically do just that.
A DE marijuana commissioner will also be appointed and be given the authority to create and adopt new regulations. The commissioner would also be required to submit reports on a yearly basis to the governor and the General Assembly.
Those who live in DE and are over 21 years old can purchase and have up to 28.4 grams or an ounce of marijuana with them. These adults are also limited to having just 5 grams of marijuana concentrates, regardless if they’re edibles or vape liquids.
Tax and Sales
The state would tax marijuana products at 15%. It would also be taxing licensing fees for cultivating, manufacturing, selling, and testing the plants and products being sold.
Buying and Consumption
Selling hours will still be the same with alcohol selling hours. Marijuana still won’t be legally allowed to be smoked in public.
Drivers and passengers are also not allowed to smoke marijuana before getting into vehicles. Users can only smoke pot in places where cigarettes and electronic versions are allowed to be smoked.
Still, even if the bill gets approved, residents still won’t be able to grow their own marijuana at home. Everything has to be purchased at dispensaries and getting caught with your own plant can land you in jail.
Dispensary or Cultivation Center
50 indoor and outdoor cultivation facilities will be initially authorized along with 15 retail stores, 10 manufacturing factories, and 5 testing facilities.
Those who want to manufacture or test must get a license and pay the fee of $10,000 bi-annually. Cultivating licenses will need to pay $2,500 every 2 years and will increase by $2,500 up to $10,000 depending on the size of the facility.
As of the moment, we can only wait for the results. Whether it gets passed or not, people can still register to the medical marijuana program of Delaware here: https://www.veriheal.com/delaware/. Stay tuned for more updates because it’s bound to get more noisy in the next couple of months.