Delaware became the 22nd state to legalize recreational marijuana Sunday after Gov. John Carney allowed two bills to become law without his signature.
It marks an end to a lengthy fight by Democrats to legalize the drug and create an industry with the potential to bring in tens of millions of dollars in tax revenue.
But what does that mean for Delawareans looking to purchase legal weed or get a license to sell it? We’ve answered some of the big questions about the future of recreational marijuana in the First State.
When can I buy weed in Delaware?
Delawareans will not be able to purchase recreational weed in the First State for at least 16 months.
What are the rules?
Buying recreational marijuana will be similar to buying alcohol. You must be at least 21 years old and have a government ID.
Anyone who meets these requirements can get a predetermined “personal use” amount of weed: 1 ounce or less of leaf marijuana, 12 grams or less of concentrated cannabis, or cannabis products containing 750 milligrams or less of delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol.
It will still be illegal to consume marijuana in public, and employers can continue to enforce their own zero-tolerance drug policies.
What if I’m currently facing charges?
It’s unclear from the two bills passed what will happen to people facing charges related to marijuana.
Possessing less than an ounce of marijuana has been decriminalized in Delaware since 2015. However, anyone under 21 caught with weed or with a large amount still faced charges.
What happens to medical marijuana centers?
There will be no changes to any laws about medical marijuana, and there will not be any new taxes on it.
It is unclear whether medical marijuana centers can also apply to sell recreational marijuana or what that process would look like.
How will licenses be handed out?
Delawareans can begin applying for licenses to sell, test or cultivate marijuana in 13 months, with the first licenses handed out in 14 months. Licenses will cost $10,000 every two years, and they can be taken away at any time.
The new laws also include special provisions to ensure equity in licenses. This means that people from communities disproportionately impacted by drug possession arrests or who have been arrested for lower-level drug crimes themselves will have state assistance in applying for licenses, lower fees and dedicated licenses set aside for them.
What are the rules for transporting marijuana?
You can now drive with marijuana within Delaware, as long as it’s in a sealed container and out of reach from everyone in the car. Just don’t take it out of the state — that’s illegal at the federal level and can bring hefty charges.
It’s also illegal to drive after consuming marijuana and runs the same penalties as drunken driving.
Can I now bring marijuana in from states that already legalized it?
No. Transporting marijuana across state lines is illegal at the federal level, even between two states that have legalized it. (Full Story)