Clock ticking for Delaware governor to act on adult-use cannabis legalization

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Adult-use cannabis sales in Delaware is in the hands of Gov. John Carney, who faces two deadlines to sign a pair of bills into law – or veto legalization for a second straight year.

Carney’s decisions were set up in March when a veto-proof majority in Delaware’s Democratic-controlled state Legislature passed two bills that would create an adult-use industry in the state:

  • House Bill 1 legalizes small amounts of cannabis for adults. Carney has until Saturday to sign or veto the bill, according to NORML. Signing the bill would make Delaware, the home of President Joe Biden, the 22nd state in the nation to legalize recreational marijuana.
  • HB 2 regulates cannabis production and retail sales. The governor has until April 26 to act on that measure.

Under HB 2, sales would be subject to a 15% excise tax, which lawmakers claim would be among the lowest in the United States.

As currently written, the law allows for the licensing of 30 adult-use stores, half of which are reserved for qualified social equity applicants, and 30 cultivation permits, 10 of which are for social equity applicants.

Carney was in this position last year, when Delaware lawmakers passed similar bills, and he vetoed them. The Legislature did not overturn the veto.

This year, several more lawmakers supported the two legalization bills, though it’s still unclear whether the veto-proof majority that passed legalization would defy the governor and override a veto.

Carney has expressed concerns over legalization encouraging youth use and presenting challenges for law enforcement.