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Delaware Gov. John Carney vetoes marijuana legalization bill

DOVER, Del. — Delaware Gov. John Carney on Tuesday vetoed a bill to legalize possession of as much as one ounce of marijuana by adults for leisure use, drawing the wrath of fellow Democrats who’ve fought for years to make weed authorized.

In vetoing the measure, Carney reiterated his beforehand expressed considerations about legalizing leisure pot — considerations that didn’t dissuade fellow Democrats from pushing the laws via the General Assembly.

“I recognize the positive effect marijuana can have for people with certain health conditions, and for that reason, I continue to support the medical marijuana industry in Delaware,” Carney mentioned in returning the bill to the state House. “I supported decriminalization of marijuana as a result of I agree that people shouldn’t be imprisoned solely for the possession and personal use of a small quantity of marijuana — and in the present day, because of Delaware’s decriminalization regulation, they don’t seem to be.

“That said, I do not believe that promoting or expanding the use of recreational marijuana is in the best interests of the state of Delaware, especially our young people. Questions about the long-term health and economic impacts of recreational marijuana use, as well as serious law enforcement concerns, remain unresolved.”

Carney’s veto comes just days after legislation to establish a state-run marijuana industry in Delaware failed to clear the state House for a second time. The Democrat-controlled chamber voted 23-15 on Thursday to approve the bill, which fell two votes in need of the required supermajority. The proposal requires a three-fifths majority in each the House and Senate as a result of it creates a brand new tax, consisting of a 15% levy on retail marijuana gross sales.

Last week’s vote got here two months after the same measure failed within the House on a 23-14 vote, and simply hours after Carney’s office acquired the companion legalization bill. Without legalization, the creation of a state-run pot {industry} is a moot problem.

It’s unclear whether or not Democratic lawmakers will attempt to override Carney’s veto, which might be a uncommon incidence. The final time Delaware lawmakers held a vote to override a veto was in 1990. The final time they succeeded was in 1977, when the House and the Senate voted to override then-Gov. Pete du Pont’s veto of the state’s funds bill.

Rep. Ed Osienski, a Newark Democrat and chief sponsor of each payments, mentioned in an announcement that he was “deeply disappointed” by Carney’s resolution and would evaluate his choices.

Senate Democrats echoed Osienski’s assertion that Carney had chosen to “ignore the will” of Delawareans.

“The members of the Delaware General Assembly have been fighting for years to end the failed war on marijuana and we will not be stopped by this latest setback,” learn an announcement from chief Senate sponsor Trey Paradee and Senate president Dave Sokola.

Betsy Maron, chairwoman of the Delaware Democratic Party, mentioned she was assured that lawmakers may trump Carney’s veto and make legalization a actuality.

“Last year, we went as far as to include it in our party platform, which passed unanimously at the 2021 state convention,” Maron mentioned in an announcement. “Delaware’s voters have further solidified their voice on the matter by electing Democratic candidates to the legislature that support legalization. We are confident those legislators will override the veto knowing they have the support of Delaware’s Democrats.”

Osienski carved the legalization and industry-creation proposals into two separate payments in late March after the House rejected broader laws that sought to do each. That cleared the best way for passage of the legalization bill, which didn’t embody any tax provision and thus required solely a easy majority.

The legalization bill cleared the Democrat-controlled Senate with no Republican assist. Sen. Bruce Ennis of Smyrna was the one Democrat becoming a member of GOP lawmakers in opposition. Two Democrats, together with Speaker Pete Schwartzkopf, voted in opposition to the legalization bill within the House, together with 12 of the 15 GOP representatives. Ennis and Schwartzkopf are each retired state troopers.

Supporters of a state-run marijuana {industry} argue that it could create jobs, enhance state coffers and shrink the unlawful black market.

Opponents contend that legalization and a state-licensed cultivation and gross sales would result in elevated marijuana use amongst teenagers and younger adults, expose business house owners to legal responsibility, and lead to extra visitors deaths and accidents. They additionally say establishing a state-run market with a 15% tax on retail gross sales would do little to get rid of unlawful gross sales.

The Associated Press reported earlier this year that legalization had executed little to discourage black market gross sales in California, and that some licensees there are concurrently taking part within the black market with a purpose to make a revenue. California’s governor has now proposed a temporary tax cut for the marijuana {industry} to assist struggling companies.

Currently, leisure marijuana use is permitted in 18 states and the District of Columbia.

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