Delaware lawmakers this week took the first step toward implementing the state’s new recreational marijuana market by allocating $2.2 million and 34 staff members to the job in the upcoming annual budget.
The state legislature’s budget-writing committee is also expected to add another $1.9 million in one-time funding, the Associated Press reported, after Gov. Jay Carney allowed a legalization bill to become law without his signature.
The funding will be split among the newly created Office of the Marijuana Commissioner and the state Division of Alcohol and Tobacco Enforcement, with the latter receiving 14 new staffers with which to oversee the cannabis industry.
The committee also signed off on funding for new marijuana tax auditors, new investigators for the Department of Health, and Department of Agriculture staff to deal with cannabis-related pesticides, weights, and measures.
Committee Chairman Sen. Trey Paradee expressed optimism about the regulatory framework, the AP reported.
“Make no mistake, we will see a return on the investment we are making here today, both in terms of the jobs that will be created and the lives that will be spared as we bring an end to the failed criminalization of marijuana,” Paradee said.
It’s not clear yet when the new adult-use market may launch, and sales may not begin until 2025.