More and more states are taking cannabis legalization bills under serious consideration. Now, Delaware is getting the chance to reconsider a bill that didn’t get very far last year. The piece of legislation was originally introduced with the intention of eliminating the black market, creating jobs and bringing in state revenue, and as such, House Bill 110 is getting a second chance this year.
“There is a market for safe and legal marijuana in Delaware, which will have numerous benefits for our state,” main sponsor Rep. Ed Osienski, D-Newark, said. “We would be establishing a new industry that would create good-paying jobs for Delawareans while striking a blow against the marijuana black market.
“There’s a tremendous amount of public support for legal, recreational marijuana, and what we are proposing is a measured, reasonable approach that addresses many of the concerns people have raised while providing a framework that will allow for a successful industry.”
House Bill 110 – if passed – would legalize possession, consumption and sale of cannabis for adult consumers 21 and older. It would not impact the state’s medical marijuana industry, though medical dispensaries would have the option to apply for a recreational sales license as well.
Since one of the main goals of the legislation is to put an end to the black market, lawmakers have decided to exclude home growing for recreational consumers – believing it would fuel the black market more than it would provide hobbyists with a new plant to tend to. It would also limit purchases to one ounce at a time, or 5 grams for concentrates like vape cartridges and edibles.
Originally, the bill had a tax structure that was based on amounts sold, but the revised bill would include a 15 percent sales tax instead. This and licensing fees – which would range from $2,500 – $10,000 – would be how the state gains revenue from the industry. Funds would go first to any costs associated with running the new industry, and after that would be left for the General Assembly to spend where it is needed.
HB 110 would allow for a total of 50 indoor and outdoor cultivation facilities of varying sizes, 10 product manufacturing facilities, 14 retail stores and 5 testing facilities. This would be expected to happen within 16 months of the bill being passed – creating new jobs and ending the prohibition of cannabis in the state of Delaware. While it is not a perfect piece of legislation, it is definitely a step in the right direction for the state – and hopefully it will get the few additional votes needed to advance this time around. If passed, Delaware would be the 11th state to legalize adult-use cannabis, the second to do so by the legislature, and the first to legalize commercial sales through legislature.