Delaware House lawmakers passed legislation to create a regulatory framework for a legal cannabis marketplace in the state. The bill, which was sponsored by Rep. Ed Osienski (D), was approved with a 27-13 vote.
In an interview with WHYY, Osienski said that it has been “a long journey” getting to this point and that the state is creating a strong bill that will make Delaware an industry leader.
The framework includes licensing provisions, restrictions on sales to minors, and driving under the influence rules. Additionally, 30 retail dispensary licenses will be granted, with half of them set aside for social equity applicants; those who have been disproportionately impacted by the state’s enforcement of cannabis laws, and anyone convicted for cannabis-related offenses—with some exceptions.
The measure also establishes a Justice Reinvestment Fund which would receive 7% of revenues derived from cannabis excise taxes—which will help fund restorative justice programs, jail diversion initiatives, workforce development efforts, as well as industry-specific technical assistance and mentoring services for economically disadvantaged persons in the region, according to a report by Ganjapreneur.
If both bills pass through the Senate they will face Governor John Carney’s signature or veto; however, with enough votes to override any potential veto, they are expected to become law without delay.