The state of Delaware is one step closer to becoming the second state to legalize cannabis through legislature. House Bill 110, also known as The Delaware Marijuana Control Act, would regulate and tax the sale of cannabis similarly to alcohol, allowing adults 21 and older to possess and consume up to one ounce of marijuana. Months after the Adult Use Cannabis Task Force provided their report on how to go about regulation, amendments to the bill have been made before it goes on to a vote.
“The Adult Use Cannabis Task force brought together a variety of stakeholders and has compiled thoughtful and diverse information that would improve House Bill 110,” State Representative Helene Keeley, D- 3rd, said.
The new amendment creates strict provisions to control and safely cultivate cannabis, including seed-to-sale tracking, random testing and other consumer safeguards like enhanced educational labeling and not allowing products to resemble popular candies or have packaging with cartoon characters.
When it comes to taxation, the new amendment is very specific in putting 10 percent of all tax proceeds to the Department of Safety and Homeland Security to improve enforcement for driving under the influence. This would include requiring specific training from drug recognition experts to identify marijuana intoxication, new devices that will hopefully accurately measure THC levels of drivers, and pilot programs to help identify and prevent drugged driving.
“It has been a priority of mine to take our time and carefully study the issues and industries that would be impacted by cannabis regulation. We have the opportunity to create an entirely new industry in Delaware and I am committed to ensuring that cannabis is regulated responsibly and safely,” Keeley said.
While it would make it legal for people to possess and consume cannabis, until licensed and regulated cultivators, processors and dispensaries are open, consumers will not have a legal way to obtain cannabis as it does not allow for home growing.
“Delaware cannot afford to wait on this,” Zoe Patchell, president of the Delaware Cannabis Advocacy Network, said. “This industry already exists. The bill simply decides who will control the existing multi-million-dollar market — either dangerous criminals or licensed and regulated entrepreneurs.”
If passed, House Bill 110 would give the state six months to prepare for implementation of the law. Patchell believes that both the House and Senate will be voting on this bill in the coming weeks. With a deadline of June 30th, lawmakers are cutting it close but still have time to end prohibition in Delaware before this legislative session is over.