Delaware House approves recreational marijuana legalization


The Delaware House has again passed a bill that would legalize recreational use of marijuana by adults in the state.

House members voted 28 to 13 on Tuesday to send the Senate a measure to allow personal use by persons age 21 and older of 1 ounce or less of leaf marijuana or equivalent amounts in other forms.

Democrats have tried for years to legalize marijuana in Delaware, but haven’t gotten enough support, even though the party controls both chambers.


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Democratic Governor John Carney speaks at an event on January 19, 2021. The Delaware House has continuously sought to legalize cannabis. However, Carney vetoed a marijuana legalization bill last year. (JIM WATSON/AFP via Getty Images)

Democratic Gov. John Carney vetoed a legalization bill last year and members of the House of Representatives failed to muster the three-fifths majority needed to override the veto. Legalization is a necessary condition for establishing a state-approved and regulated marijuana industry.

Supporters argue that a state-regulated industry would reduce illegal black market sales, create jobs and generate more tax revenue. They said the legalization bill would not allow people to grow marijuana and would not change drunk driving laws or prohibit employers from having a zero-tolerance policy.


Opponents argue that legalization will lead to more marijuana use among teens and young adults and expressed fears on Tuesday about young people’s cognitive development and possible prenatal exposure. They also said it would expose business owners to liability and lead to more road deaths and injuries.

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Legalization requires only a simple majority in both chambers, but the Industry Creation Bill requires a three-fifths majority because it creates a new tax in the form of a 15% levy on retail sales. The measure was not approved last year and will remain in committee this year.

The vote in the Delaware House took place on the same day Oklahoma voters went to the polls to decide whether to approve allowing individuals over the age of 21 to buy and own up to 1 ounce of marijuanaplus concentrates and marijuana-infused products, and legally grow up to 12 marijuana plants.

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