Edward S. Osienski
The Delaware Marijuana Control Act regulates and taxes marijuana in the same manner as alcohol. It allows adults over the age of 21 to legally possess and consume under 1 ounce of marijuana for personal use. It does not permit people to grow their own marijuana. Section 1: Amends Chapter 47 of Title 16 to provide that the offenses and penalties under Uniform Controlled Substances Act do not apply to marijuana-related conduct allowed under the Delaware Marijuana Control Act or the Delaware Medical Marijuana Act, Chapter 49A of Title 16. Section 2: Amends § 4764 of Title 16 to eliminate any penalty for possessing 1 ounce or less of marijuana for individuals over the age of 21 but maintains the existing civil penalty for possession of 1 ounce or less for adults age 18 to 21. Section 3: Amends § 4902A of Title 16 so that the definition of a registered safety compliance facility includes not just marijuana produced for medical use but also marijuana produced under the Delaware Marijuana Control Act. Section 4: Amends § Chapter 4 of Title 4 to expand DATE’s duties and powers to the Delaware Marijuana Control Act. Section 5: This Act creates the Delaware Marijuana Control Act. Subchapter I contains definitions and general provisions. Where definitions or analogous provisions exist in the Delaware Code, the definitions are referenced and the language from existing statutes is used. This section of the Act permits individuals over age 21 to possess, use, purchase, or transport 1 ounce (28 grams) or less of marijuana, no more than 5 grams of which may be concentrated, by individuals 21 years of age or older if the individuals are in compliance with this chapter. It permits the operation of marijuana businesses if they operate under licenses granted under Chapter 49A of Title 16, but imposes the same limits on hours and holiday sales as apply to sales of alcohol. It prohibits the use of marijuana in public, by drivers or passengers in vehicles, and prohibits the smoking of marijuana anywhere that smoking tobacco or ecigarettes is not permitted. Marijuana may not be sold in an establishment licensed to sell alcohol. Employers and some owners of residential housing can prohibit the use of marijuana. There are specific provisions imposing the same penalties as with alcohol sales, for individuals under the age of 21 using false identification to purchase marijuana, and for businesses that fail to verify the age of marijuana consumers. This Act creates the Delaware Marijuana Control Act Oversight Committee. This Oversight Committee will coordinate the implementation of this Act with the Medical Marijuana Program, the Division of Public Health, the Division of Substance Abuse and Mental Health, and the public. The Oversight Committee will review the effectiveness of the Delaware Marijuana Control Act in regard to the safe operation of facilities licensed under this Act, the impact of this Act on public safety, and the impact of this Act on public health. The Commissioner must submit an annual report to the Governor and the members of the General Assembly setting forth all matters of interest and all statistics concerning marijuana regulation and control in the State including: the number of licenses of each variety issued with the State; including the name and address of each person licensed to cultivate, manufacture, or sell marijuana or marijuana products in the State; the amount of marijuana and marijuana products sold within the State; and the number of licenses of each kind granted and the number cancelled during the year. Subchapter II creates the Marijuana Commissioner and Appeals Commission. The Commissioner has the power to conduct hearings if neighbors protest the license application of establishments that sell marijuana and subpoena power. It requires the Commissioner to coordinate with the Division of Small Business, Development, and Tourism so that potential businesses licensed under this Act have access to programs, particularly those that support small businesses owned by minorities, women, and veterans. Subchapter III sets up the regulations and licenses under the Delaware Marijuana Control Act. The Marijuana Commissioner has the authority to adopt regulations to implement this Act and includes specific requirements that marijuana establishments must meet to obtain licenses. Regulations must require that products containing marijuana use of a symbol and a standard measurement to be used on all marijuana products so they are easily identified as containing marijuana and consumers can identify the amount of marijuana in different products; be in opaque, child-resistant packaging; and contain a warning label explaining evidence-based harms from consuming marijuana, including the impact on developing brains. The regulations must also contain security requirements, testing requirements, advertising restrictions, and require that food products comply with State food safety laws. There are separate licensing requirements for retail marijuana stores, marijuana testing facilities, marijuana cultivation facilities, and marijuana product manufacturing facilities. The application fee for licenses is up to $5000, which is the same as the application fee for facilities under the Delaware Medical Marijuana program. There is a $10,000 biennial fee for each license issued under this Act, which is lower than the fee for compassion center under the Delaware Medical Marijuana program, with the exception of cultivation licenses that are determined by square footage of the grow rates. Within 10 months of the effective date of this Act, applications will be accepted from compassion centers and safety compliance facilities registered under Chapter 49A of Title 16 to operate as retail marijuana stores, marijuana cultivation facilities, marijuana product manufacturing facilities, and marijuana testing facilities. Subchapter IV creates the Marijuana Regulation Fund. This fund will consist of fees collected, penalties imposed, and taxes collected under this Act. It creates the marijuana control enforcement tax on retail marijuana in the amount of 15% that will be appropriated as determined by the General Assembly. Section 6: Creates a State tax deduction for all ordinary and necessary expenses paid or incurred by a marijuana establishment to reflect the inability of a business licensed under this Act to deduct these expenses from federal taxes and thus state taxes. This creates a more level playing field with other businesses. Section 7: Provides that the initial regulations required under this Act be adopted not later than 9 months after the effective date of this Act. Section 8: This section allows for the expungement of prior marijuana related offenses as long as the individual has no convictions for violent felonies. Section 9: This section allows the Sunset Committee to review the Oversight Committee in 2024.
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Reported Out of Committee (Revenue & Finance) in House with 4 Favorable, 3 On Its Merits, 1 Unfavorable
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