House bill would legalize marijuana in Delaware
Rep. Helene Keeley, D-Wilmington South, and Sen. Margaret Rose Henry, D-Wilmington East, introduced a bill March 30 establishing a commissioner to regulate, tax and distribute marijuana legally in Delaware.
The regulatory framework for House Bill 110 is modeled on existing laws governing the regulation and taxation of alcohol.
According to a press release, the bill would create a marijuana regulation fund, which would consist of taxes collected on marijuana, license fees paid by marijuana business and any fines imposed on them.
In a prepared statement, Keeley said legalizing and then regulating marijuana is an opportunity to create a new industry that would include agricultural, processing and retail jobs.
A University of Delaware poll last fall indicated that 61 percent of Delaware voters support legalizing marijuana.
The prohibition of marijuana and the War on Drugs has produced few winners, particularly for people of color, said Henry in a prepared statement.
Under the bill, retail stores, testing facilities, cultivation facilities, and manufacturing facilities would need to apply for licenses to operate in the marijuana industry. Applicants would pay a fee of up to $5,000 for a license and a $10,000 biennial fee for each license.
The bill also would create an excise tax of: $50 per ounce on marijuana flowers, $15 per ounce on all other parts of the marijuana plant, and $25 per immature marijuana plant.
As proposed, the act would not allow individuals to drive while intoxicated, or use marijuana in a moving vehicle; allow individuals under the age of 21 to purchase, possess, or consume marijuana; allow individuals to consume marijuana in public spaces; allow individuals to grow their own plants or create byproducts on their own.
Delaware approved medical marijuana for patients with various illnesses in 2011 and decriminalized possession of small amounts of marijuana in 2015. Delaware would be the ninth state to legalize marijuana if the bill passes.