Will Carney let marijuana bills become law without signing?

Betsy PriceGovernment, Headlines


Bills that would legalize marijuana and create a legal growing and selling industry in Delaware went to Gov. John Carney’s desk this week.

The state representative who has been pushing the legalization of marijuana for years sent out a press release Friday that broadly hints Gov. John Carney will allow that to happen without signing two bills that hit his desk this week.

Both House Bill 1 and House Bill 2 passed the General Assembly in March.

unemployment and marijuana

Ed Osienski

HB 1 would legalize the possession of marijuana and HB 2 would create and regulate a legal recreational marijuana industry for adult users.

Rep. Ed Osienski, D-Newark, refers to the bills collectively as the Delaware Marijuana Control Act.

In his press release, he pointed out under Delaware law, the governor has 10 days, not including Sunday, from the time his office takes receipt of the bill to either sign the bill into law, veto the bill or take no action and allow it to become law without a signature.

HB 1 was sent to the governor on Tuesday, which means the 10th day would be Saturday, April 22, Osienski’s email said.

HB 2 was delivered on Friday, April 14, which means the 10thh day would be Wednesday, April 26, the email pointed out.

RELATED STORY: Troopers ask Carney to veto marijuana legalization bills

Carney until now has adamantly refused to endorse any bill that would have legalized marijuana. He vetoed a legalization bill last year.

But he’s been at odds with the rest of his Democratic party and, if surveys can be believed, with the majority of the public, many of whom actively support or are unopposed to legalizing marijuana.

Democrats have a supermajority in the state Senate and a simple majority in the State House. Those groups repeatedly have voted in increasing numbers for the bills, with a few Republican mixed in here and there.

Marijuana opposition

The Delaware State Trooper Association and Sen. Bryant Richardson, R-Laurel, both have asked Carney publicly to veto the bill.

Carney’s office confirmed the bills had arrived and said there would be no additional updates Friday on future action.

Efforts were not immediately successful to get a comment today from the governor’s office.

Osienski had said in January when he reintroduced the bills after they failed again last year that he hoped things would be different with Carney, who vetoed a legalization bill last year.

This year, however, the governor’s office asked for amendments, which were approved, in the marijuana industry bill. Many took that to mean there was some support in Carney’s office.

“We have been on a long, multi-year journey with the Marijuana Control Act,” Osienski said in the press release. “We have had countless hearings, debates, stakeholder engagement and deliberations. We have incorporated numerous suggestions and changes from interested parties – including the governor’s office – throughout this process to arrive at what I believe is the best possible plan for legalizing and regulating adult recreational marijuana.

“I am hopeful that the governor will take all of this into account as he considers these bills and that he will acknowledge the desires of an overwhelming majority of Delaware residents.”

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