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Delaware Legalizes Cannabis

Delaware has joined the ranks of jurisdictions with legal adult-use marijuana, with the recent enactment of two bills by the state’s legislature. House Bill 1 (HB 1) amends Title 16 of the Delaware Code to remove all penalties for the use or possession of marijuana, as long as the amount does not exceed certain statutory quantities. For its part, House Bill 2 (HB 2) establishes a legal marijuana industry. Both initiatives were sponsored by Rep. Ed Osienski, a Democrat, and approved largely along party lines.

The approval of these legislative initiatives has taken place without the signature of Gov. John Carney, also a Democrat, and a vocal opponent of adult-use legalization. Despite “remain[ing] concerned about the consequences of a recreational marijuana industry in [the] state,” Gov. Carney chose not to veto the bills, opining that Delawareans had “spent far too much time focused on this issues when [they] face more serious and pressing concerns every day.”

Legalizing cannabis in Delaware

Possession of one ounce or less of marijuana (“personal use quantity”) was decriminalized in Delaware in 2015, but was subject to a civil penalty of $100 until the enactment of HB 1. This bill refined the definition of personal use

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