Despite being opposed to the move, Delaware Governor John Carney has announced that he will allow legislation legalizing marijuana to become law.
With lawmakers being “100% confident” they have enough votes to override a potential veto, Governor Carney says he will not veto House Bill 1 and House Bill 2 but instead will allow them to become law without his signature. Both measures passed the House and Senate with the supermajority needed to counteract a veto. House Bill 1 will become law on April 24, while House Bill 2 will become law on April 26.
House Bill 1 will legalize the personal possession of up to an ounce of recreational marijuana for everyone 21 and older. However, it does not establish a legal marijuana industry, which is where House Bill 2 comes into play. The proposal will create a licensed, regulated and taxed system of marijuana retail outlets, allowed to sell marijuana and marijuana products.
Under House Bill 2, the Division of Alcohol and Tobacco Enforcement will be charged with regulating the marijuana industry through a new Office of Marijuana Control Commissioner. Marijuana will be taxed at 15%, with medical marijuana remaining tax free.
Once House Bill 1 and 2 take effect, Delaware will become the 22nd state to legalize marijuana for all uses. 39 states have legalized the plant for medical use.
“In the coming days, I will allow House Bill 1 and House Bill 2 to be enacted into Delaware law without my signature”, said Governor Carney in a press release. “These two pieces of legislation remove all state-level civil and criminal penalties from simple marijuana possession and create a highly regulated industry to conduct recreational marijuana sales in Delaware.”
Governor Carney says that “I want to be clear that my views on this issue have not changed. And I understand there are those who share my views who will be disappointed in my decision not to veto this legislation. I came to this decision because I believe we’ve spent far too much time focused on this issue, when Delawareans face more serious and pressing concerns every day. It’s time to move on.”