Jar of marijuana

Governor Carney decides not to veto recreational marijuana bills

Terry RogersHeadlines, Health, Milford Headline Story

Jar of marijuana

Governor John Carney allowed two bills legalizing recreational marijuana pass into law without his signature and without a veto

In a press release issued by the State of Delaware on Friday afternoon, Governor John Carney announced he would not veto nor would he sign two bills into law that would make recreational marijuana legal in Delaware. The laws also establish licensing and regulation in the cannabis industry. Last year, Governor Carney vetoed a bill that would have legalized recreational marijuana and an override attempt was unsuccessful.

“In the coming days, I will allow House Bill 1 and House Bill 2 to be enacted into Delaware law without my signature. These two pieces of legislation remove all state-level civil and criminal penalties from simple marijuana possession and create a highly regulated industry to conduct recreational marijuana sales in Delaware,” Governor Carney said in the press release. “As I’ve consistently said, I believe the legalization of recreational marijuana is not a step forward. I support both medical marijuana and Delaware’s decriminalization law because no one should go to jail for possessing a personal use quantity of marijuana. And today, they do not.”

Governor Carney has long been an opponent of legalizing the recreational use of marijuana. His strongest objection was highway safety as well as the lack of information on how marijuana use could affect young people.

“I want to be clear that my views on this issue have not changed. And I understand there are those who share my views who will be disappointed in my decision not to veto this legislation,” the press release continued. “I came to this decision because I believe we’ve spent far too much time focused on this issue, when Delawareans face more serious and pressing concerns every day. It’s time to move on. I remain concerned about the consequences of a recreational marijuana industry in our state. I’m concerned especially about the potential effects on Delaware’s children, on the safety of our roadways, and on our poorest neighborhoods, where I believe a legal marijuana industry will have a disproportionately negative impact. Those concerns are why I could not put my signature to either House Bill 1 or House Bill 2.”

Governor Carney recognized that other lawmakers may not agree with his decision to allow the bills to pass without his signature, but he felt there was no need to continue debating the issue.

“Delaware families want great schools for their kids. They want good jobs and affordable, safe communities free of crime. And they expect – rightly so – that we’ll spend taxpayer dollars in a way that’s both responsible and sustainable. That’s where we should focus our time and energy in the weeks and months ahead,” Governor Caney said. “As we implement House Bill 1 and House Bill 2, we will do everything in our power to protect children from accessing marijuana and marijuana-related products; prevent Delawareans and Delaware visitors from driving under the influence of marijuana; and closely evaluate the placement of marijuana dispensaries and other businesses, to ensure they do not become a blight on already disadvantaged communities. My goal will be to ensure that Delaware has a robust regulatory system that protects the interests of the most vulnerable Delawareans, to avoid the many challenges we’ve seen in other states, and to get back to focusing on issues that are most important for Delaware families.”

House Bill 1 removes all penalties for possession of uup to one ounce or less of leaf or an equivalent amount of other products containing marijuana as well as any accessories related to using the substance. The bill also requires anyone using marijuana to be 21 or older. In addition, when transporting marijuana in a vehicle, the substance must be in a closed container. The bill passed the Senate with a vote of 16 to 4 with one absent and the House with a vote of 28 to 13.

House Bill 2 allows the state to regulate and tax marijuana for recreational use similar to methods used for alcohol. The bill passed the Senate with a vote of 15 to 5 with one absent and the House with a vote of 27 to 13 with one absent.

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