State lawmakers in Delaware have been pushing to legalize, tax and sell recreational use cannabis for months, and on the path to that eventual outcome, legislators passed a resolution late last week to create an Adult Use Cannabis Task Force to investigate what legal cannabis would mean for the east coast state. The resolution will put legalization legislation on hold for the time being while the 23-member task force performs their investigation.
According to Delaware’s local 105.9 radio news, the task force will aim to create a comprehensive set of details to give voters a more informed look at the subject for when legalization is up for a vote in the near future. The panel will look to the country’s existing legal weed states for a peek into their own future.
"This is unchartered territory for The First State, and we want to make sure we are fully prepared to execute cannabis legalization safely and effectively," State Representative Helene Keeley, who will co-chair the task force, said. "By studying the experiences of other states that have taxed and regulated cannabis, we will be able to learn from them."
The Cannabis Task Force will be given significant responsibility in crafting the state’s future legalization on subjects from taxes to driving. As per the official filing, the task force “shall study adoption of a model for regulation and taxation of adult-use cannabis in Delaware, including local authority and control, consumer safety and substance abuse prevention, packaging and labeling requirements, impaired driving and other criminal law concerns, and taxation, revenue, and banking issues.”
To make those changes, co-chairs Keeley and State Senator Margaret Rose Henry have tapped a who’s who of Delaware movers and shakers, including the state’s Attorney General, Director of Public Health, Secretary of Finance and the Mayor of Wilmington, the state’s largest city.
"The General Assembly is ready to take a serious look at regulating and taxing marijuana for adult use,” Maggie Ellinger-Locke, legislative counsel for the Marijuana Policy Project, said. “This is an opportunity for a variety of stakeholders to come together and examine every aspect of this issue. We hope it will pave the way for the General Assembly to adopt a more thoughtful approach to cannabis next session. Lawmakers can see the direction the country is moving on this issue and they know most Delaware voters support making marijuana legal for adults.”
A 2016 poll of Delaware voters suggested that over 60% of residents already support legalization.