Delaware Gov. John Carney vetoes marijuana legalization bill – NBC10 Philadelphia

Delaware Gov. John Carney on Tuesday vetoed a bill to legalize adult possession of up to an ounce of marijuana for recreational use, angering fellow Democrats who have fought for years to make weeds legal.

Vetoing the move, Carney reiterated his earlier concerns about legalizing the recreational pot, concerns that have not deterred fellow Democrats from passing legislation in the General Assembly.

“I recognize the positive effects of marijuana on people with certain diseases, and for that reason I continue to support the medical marijuana industry in Delaware,” Carney said, returning the bill to the State House. “I supported the decriminalization of marijuana because I agree that people cannot be imprisoned just for storing and privately using small amounts of marijuana, and today, thanks to the Delaware State Decriminalization Act, that is not the case.

“However, I do not believe that promoting or expanding marijuana use for leisure is in the interests of the state of Delaware, especially our youth. The long-term health and economic consequences of recreational marijuana use and the serious problems with law enforcement remain unresolved. ”

Carney’s veto came days after a law establishing the state-owned marijuana industry in Delaware failed to clean up the State House a second time. The Democrat-controlled chamber on Thursday voted 23 to 15 in favor of the bill, which lacked the required overwhelming majority by two votes. The proposal requires a three-fifths majority in both the House of Representatives and the Senate because it creates a new tax consisting of a 15% levy on marijuana retail sales.

Last week’s vote came two months after a similar measure failed in the House of Representatives in a 23-14 vote, and hours after Carney’s office received a concomitant legalization bill. Without legalization, the creation of a state pottery industry is a moot point.

It is unclear whether Democratic lawmakers will try to overcome Carney’s veto, which would be rare. The last time Delaware lawmakers voted to lift the veto was in 1990. The last time they succeeded was in 1977, when the House of Representatives and the Senate voted to abolish the then governor. Pete du Pont vetoed the state budget bill.

MP Ed Asienski, a Democrat from Newark and the main sponsor of both bills, said in a statement that he was “deeply disappointed” by Carney’s decision and would consider his options.

Senate Democrats reiterated Asienski’s assertion that Carney chose to “ignore the will” of Delovarists.

“Members of the Delaware General Assembly have fought for years to end the failed marijuana war, and this latest setback will not stop us,” said Senate sponsor Trey Paradis and Senate President Dave Falcon.

Betsy Maron, chairman of the Delaware Democratic Party, said she was confident lawmakers could overcome Carney’s veto and make legalization a reality.

“Last year, we went so far as to include this in our party platform, which was unanimously adopted at the 2021 state convention,” Maron said in a statement. “Delaware voters have further strengthened their voice on the issue by electing Democratic candidates to the legislature who support legalization. We are confident that these lawmakers will overcome the veto, knowing that they are backed by the Delaware Democrats.”

Asensky split proposals to legalize and create the industry into two separate bills in late March after the House of Representatives rejected broader legislation that sought to make both. This paved the way for the adoption of a bill on legalization that did not include any tax provisions and therefore requires only a simple majority.

The legalization bill released the Democrat-controlled Senate without Republican support. Senator Bruce Ennis of Smyrna was the only Democrat to join the Republican lawmakers in opposition. Two Democrats, including Speaker Pete Schwarzkopf, voted against the bill on legalization in the House of Representatives, as well as 12 of the 15 Republicans. Ennis and Schwarzkopf are both retired state servicemen.

Proponents of the state-owned marijuana industry say it will create jobs, increase the state coffers and cut the illegal black market.

Opponents argue that legalization and cultivation and sale under state license will increase marijuana use among teens and young adults, hold business owners accountable and lead to more deaths and injuries. They also say that creating a state market with a 15 percent retail tax will not help eliminate illegal sales.

Earlier this year, the Associated Press reported that legalization had done little to disrupt black market sales in California, and that some licensees were simultaneously participating in the black market to make a profit. The California governor has proposed a temporary tax cut for the marijuana industry to help businesses that are suffering.

Currently, recreational marijuana use is allowed in 18 states and the District of Columbia.

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