A vote to override Gov. John Carney’s veto of legalized marijuana in Delaware failed in the House June 7.
After a two-week break punctuated by a rare governor’s veto, the sponsor of the marijuana legalization bill made a motion to override Carney’s denial, but legislators split 20-20 with one not voting. In order to override the veto, the House needed 25 votes, a three-fifths majority.
Rep. Ed Osienski, D-Newark, the bill’s prime sponsor, said the legalization bill, which had passed in May with supermajority support, needed to pass so the General Assembly could move forward with a bill to regulate a marijuana industry in the state. Without passage, he said, some legislators will not vote for regulating an industry that is illegal.
“Unfortunately the outcome is not what I wanted, but I do want to say I’m proud that I’ve been fighting for something that such a large majority of Delawareans want. It is what I feel they sent me down here to do, and I am appreciative of all the work I’ve done with my colleagues. But most of all, I feel good that I was working for Delawareans,” Osienski said.
Earlier in the day, marijuana proponents rallied outside Legislative Hall in Dover, and Osienski was optimistic he had the votes for legalization and a bill to regulate a marijuana industry.
“I think this is crucial,” he said. “I think Delaware needs to have it regulated and safe.”
A vote to override a veto is extremely rare in Delaware. According to the state Division of Research, the last time the Legislature successfully voted to override a veto was in 1977. That year, Gov. Pierre S. duPont had vetoed the fiscal year 1978 budget, and both the House and Senate voted to override his veto.
With the failed vote in the House, the bill is now dead.
"Unless and until Gov. Carney changes his stance on legalizing adult recreational marijuana, we will be at a standstill on this issue," Osienski said.