Delaware is about to become the 22nd state to have fully legalized recreational marijuana, after Gov. John Carney announced Friday that he won’t veto legalization bills as he has in the past, potentially avoiding an embarrassing veto override by the legislature.
“I want to be clear that my views on this issue have not changed,” Carney said in a press release. “And I understand there are those who share my views who will be disappointed in my decision not to veto this legislation.
“I came to this decision because I believe we’ve spent far too much time focused on this issue, when Delawareans face more serious and pressing concerns every day. It’s time to move on,” he said.
The pair of bills – House Bills 1 and 2 – legalize personal possession of up to an ounce of cannabis for those 21 and older, and also set up a framework for a regulated adult-use market. Within 16 months, state authorities will award 30 new retail permits, Delaware Online reported.
The news outlet reported that the prime sponsor of both bills, state Rep. Ed Osienski, had said he was confident he had the support in both chambers to override a veto if Carney torpedoed the measures, which is what he did in 2022.
Karen O’Keefe, director of state policies for the Marijuana Policy Project, celebrated the news in a post on LinkedIn, and wrote that it’s “HUGE NEWS.”
“This was a multi-year effort with plenty of speed bumps,” O’Keefe wrote.