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Delaware Legalizes Recreational Cannabis

By Leo Bear-McGuinness

Published: Apr 25, 2023   
Cannabis buds and a jar.

Image credit: iStock

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Delaware has become the 22nd US state to legalize the personal possession and use of recreational cannabis.

The new law came into effect on Sunday, April 23, without the state governor’s signature. Two days prior, Governor John Carney had announced he wouldn’t stand in the way of the cannabis legislation, nor would he approve it.

I want to be clear that my views on this issue have not changed,” he said in a statement on April 21. “And I understand there are those who share my views who will be disappointed in my decision not to veto this legislation.”

Carney expressed concerns that adult-use legalization will negatively impact children and roadway safety in the state. However, in the end, he abstained from imposing these views and blocking the 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,” he said. “It’s time to move on.

The two House bills that Governor Carney refused to sign immediately remove all penalties for use and possession of cannabis (for those aged 21 and over) and legislate the creation of a legal, regulated industry for cannabis production and retail. Specifically, House Bill 2 mandates the licensing of 30 initial retailers, 30 manufacturers, 60 cultivators, and five testing labs.

The full launch of the state’s marketplace isn’t expected until late 2024 at the earliest.


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