22nd State Legalizes Recreational Marijuana

Delaware's governor decides against vetoing legislation a second time
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 22, 2023 7:01 AM CDT
Delaware Legalizes Recreational Pot
As of Sunday, Delaware residents over 21 will be allowed to possess 1 ounce (28 grams) of leaf marijuana, 12 grams of concentrated marijuana, or marijuana products with up to 750 milligrams of THC.   (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)

Delaware's Democratic governor is not in favor of legalizing marijuana for recreational use—but he has decided to stop standing in the way. Gov. John Carney said Friday that he would allow two legalization bills to become law without his signature, the News Journal reports. Possessing up to 1 ounce of leaf marijuana for personal use will become legal in Delaware on Sunday. A second bill will create a recreational marijuana industry in the state, though it will be at least 16 months before retail sales begin. Both bills passed the state House and Senate last month and were sent to the governor last week.

Carney, who vetoed similar legislation last year, had to choose between signing the legislation, vetoing it, or doing nothing, which meant the bills would become law after 10 days. The governor said Friday that he had decided it was time for the state to "move on" and focus on more pressing issues. "I want to be clear that my views on this issue have not changed," he said. "And I understand there are those who share my views who will be disappointed in my decision not to veto this legislation." He said he doesn't support legalization of recreational marijuana because of his concerns about children and road safety, but he will respect the legislative process.

"I understand the governor’s personal opposition to legalization, so I especially appreciate him listening to the thousands of residents who support this effort and allowing it to become law," said Democratic state Rep. Ed Osienski, chief sponsor of both measures, per the AP. State lawmakers failed to override Carney's veto last year but after the election of several progressive Democrats in November, they would probably have had the numbers to override Carney if he had decided to reject the bills. The new laws make Delaware the 22nd state to legalize marijuana for recreational use. (More marijuana stories.)

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