By Randall Chase, Associated Press
(AP) — Democratic lawmakers are again proposing to legalize marijuana in Delaware after a failed effort last year.
The bill introduced Thursday is aimed at eliminating the black market for pot by establishing a state-licensed industry that would create jobs while padding state coffers with licensing fees and taxes.
Under the legislation, adults over age 21 could buy and possess up to an ounce of marijuana, no more than 5 grams of which could be in a concentrated form such as that used in edibles and vape liquids. The bill would not allow Delawareans to grow their own marijuana for their personal use.
“People shouldn’t be punished for smoking marijuana in the privacy of their homes,” Attorney General Kathy Jennings stated. “While important questions around the specifics of implementation — including impaired driving — need to be answered, I generally support legalizing marijuana as the logical answer to an outdated policy that has caused more harm than good, particularly in communities of color.”
The state would collect a tax of 15% of the retail sales price of the marijuana products sold, as well as licensing fees for each facility. Licensing fees for stores, manufacturing facilities and testing facilities would be $10,000 every two years. Delaware cultivation facilities would pay two-year licensing fees starting at $2,500 and increasing in $2,500 increments up to $10,000, depending on their size.
Retail sale hours would be similar to those allowed for alcohol sales. The bill prohibits the use of marijuana in public and by drivers and passengers in vehicles. It also prohibits smoking pot anywhere where smoking tobacco or e-cigarettes is not permitted.
Zbigniew Bzdak/Chicago Tribune via AP