DOVER, Del.- State Democratic lawmakers are again attempting to legalize recreational marijuana in Delaware, an effort that would add the First State to a growing list of places the drug is being legalized.
Legislation announced on Thursday by Rep. Ed Osienski (D-Newark) and Sen. Trey Paradee (D-Dover) would legalize the possession and consumption of up to an ounce marijuana for people who are 21 years of age or older. It would also establish a framework in which pot could be regulated and taxed but also disallow people from growing their own marijuana at their homes.
Under the House Bill 110, Delaware would allow for up to 15 retail licenses to be issued within 16 months of the bill’s effective date.
In an effort to ensure recreational sales of marijuana can take place at a time when retail sties have not yet been established, the legislation also allows compassion centers to offer recreational sales of marijuana, so long as they are able to stock enough supplies to meet a threshold set by the state.
HB 110 also bars anyone under the age of 21 years old from entering places where marijuana is sold. The bill sets standards for child-resistant packaging, prohibits edible forms of marijuana from being designed to make them appealing to children, and restricts advertising for marijuana products in places where the message would have a high likelihood of reaching minors.
Supporters say the legislation would legalize a drug many people are already consuming despite potential criminal penalties associated with it. They also argue a marijuana industry would generate a significant amount of revenue in the state and create jobs.
Critics have argued legalizing marijuana will cause more impaired driving on roadways and decrease public safety. Democratic Gov. John Carney is among the opponents of legalization.
Delaware decriminalized marijuana several years ago and has a medical marijuana program that allows qualified patients to obtain cannabis at dispensaries in all three counties.
HB 110 has been assigned to the House Revenue & Finance Committee.