Marijuana Legalization Bill Passes House Committee

Marijuana legalization legislation was approved by a House committee on Wednesday afternoon.

House Bill 305, Delaware’s Marijuana Control Act, would create a legal framework to regulate the cultivation, sale and possession of marijuana and give small businesses a chance to obtain licenses.

The bill was released Wednesday by the House Health and Human Development Committee.

The bill requires a supermajority of lawmakers to pass because it increases tax revenue. However, Governor John Carney was also wary of the legalization legislation.

“Today we heard from many members of the public – advocates, veterans, retired law enforcement officers, educators and even religious leaders – who testified overwhelmingly in support of the legalization of recreational marijuana for adults. These residents know what 18 other states already know: legalizing cannabis will create high-paying jobs for Delawares while dealing a blow to the illegal marijuana market,” said Rep. Ed Osienski, D -Newark, lead sponsor of HB 305. “Delaware is more than capable of successfully enacting policies for safe and legal cannabis. I am grateful to the committee for releasing this bill and look forward to breaking the important next steps.

HB 305 would also regulate and tax marijuana in the same way as alcohol. Additionally, it would allow adults 21 and older to purchase up to one ounce of marijuana from a licensed retail marijuana store.

The legislation would allow up to 30 retail licenses to be issued within 16 months of the bill’s effective date.

The bill would also establish a competitive licensing process through the Office of the Marijuana Control Commissioner using a scoring system that rewards applicants for paying a living wage, providing employer-paid health insurance, provision of a defined benefit pension plan, provision of sick leave and paid leave to workers. , hire more full-time workers, focus on workforce diversity and other factors.

HB 305 would establish a point-of-sale assessed marijuana control enforcement fee set at 15%.

The measure would direct 7% of marijuana tax revenue to a justice reinvestment fund for disadvantaged communities.

To accommodate the new license pools, more retail and cultivation licenses have been added to the totals from the previous release. The bill allows municipalities to prohibit the operation of marijuana facilities within their borders through local ordinances that do not conflict with municipal bylaws passed under this law.

HB 305 would not change existing state law regarding driving under the influence of an illegal or recreational drug. It would also not allow individuals to grow their own plants. Public use of marijuana would still not be permitted.

Enforcement by employers would largely not change. Employers would be allowed to test workers for marijuana to ensure all zero-tolerance policies are followed.

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