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Delaware Governor Expected to Sign Marijuana Legalization Bill Into Law

Updated: May 15, 2022

By Hunter Dublin | May 13, 2022

The Delaware Senate adopted a House-passed bill legalizing marijuana possession on Thursday, sending it to the governor's desk.

Meanwhile, a separate, complementary plan to establish business laws for an adult-use market has progressed. It is anticipated to make its way to the House floor before perhaps being passed to the Senate.

Delaware Representative Ed Osienski is sponsoring both measures as a two-track approach to enacting sweeping liberalization. He initially tried to passage his bill that included all components. Still, it failed to get a three-fifths supermajority and was defeated on the House floor in March.

The sponsor then created an alternative strategy, splitting the law into two bills: one to merely legalize possession for individuals 21 and older, which only requires a simple majority to pass, and another to implement market rules, which still require three-fifths of members to be passed.

Things are going according to plan so far. The Senate gave final approval of the possession legalization bill in a 13-7 vote one day after it advanced through committee with ease. This separate regulations measure has cleared two panels before reaching House floors for consideration.

Senators passed a resolution denouncing a traffic stop and drug search performed by Georgia police on a bus transporting the Delaware State University women's lacrosse team last month ahead of Thursday's vote on legalization. The bill was approved 14-4, with three members voting against it.

The future of cannabis in Delaware remains unclear as the state's Democratic governor John Carney continues his opposition to legalization.

"Like many Delawareans, I've been mystified by the General Assembly's failure to enact legislation legalizing recreational marijuana," Senate sponsor Trey Paradee (D) remarked on the floor. "However, we now have the opportunity to adopt legislation backing a majority of Delawareans."

A GOP senator filed an amendment to the legislation that would have delayed its effective date until technology developed for police officers detects active impairment from THC. The motion was rejected with 6 votes favorable and 14 opposed, so now we wait eagerly for how long it will take before this new law goes into effect!


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