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Cannabis / State government

Have a comment on marijuana sales in Delaware? Your input is the next step

People looking to shape the First State’s future recreational market should know these processes and key dates for public feedback, licensing and more.

The business of cannabis is complex. (Technical.ly/Holly Quinn/made with SDXL 1.0)
It’s been nearly a year since HB1 passed without a signature from Gov. John Carney, making recreational use of marijuana legal in Delaware. Are we there yet?

The bill passed on April 23, 2023 and went into effect on July 5. And yet, it will be another year before Delawareans can walk into a store and legally purchase THC, the part of the cannabis plant that produces a high, without a medical marijuana card.

For those business owners who want a license to sell THC, it’s a long process — and one of the few that gives special consideration to the formerly incarcerated if they were incarcerated on weed charges.

“Cannabis is a massively complex industry with lots of different regulating bodies and rules,” said James Brobyn, CEO and founder of American Fiber Company and president of the Delaware Cannabis Industry Association, during a “crash course” in opening a cannabis business in Delaware at the Emerging Enterprise Center’s 2023 Entrepreneurship Summit in October.

Challenges such businesses face include difficulty obtaining a line of credit and a very limited number of licenses.

Delaware is initially issuing 125 licenses: 60 for cultivation, 30 for retail, 30 for manufacturing, and 5 for testers. 40% of those are earmarked for social equity applicants, which means people who either have cannabis convictions or have lived in an area disproportionately impacted by marijuana criminalization for at least five of the last ten years.

Where is Delaware in the process now?

In 2023, a plan for creating health and safety regulations in marijuana cultivation and guidelines for managing licensure and enforcement under the Marijuana Control Act was put into place.

March 2024 is a notable part of the timeline: the moment when potential licensees and residents have the opportunity to give feedback on what should be in the health and safety regulations.

That part is on track: Go to the website of the Office of the Marijuana Commissioner, and right at the top, you’ll see a link to instructions on how to submit public comment after reading through the lengthy proposed health and safety regulations that cover everything from how businesses track inventory to how the THC products can look (not like candy). Feedback is submitted by email, with the regulation section you’re commenting on in the email subject. If you send feedback, be sure to follow the rules.

Public responses will be accepted through March 29.

Submit your feedback

What’s next?

The health and safety regulations will be written and finalized between the end of March and the end of June. After that, the timeline, which is available on the commissioner’s office’s website, looks like this:

  • July 2024: Adoption of regulations
  • Sept. 1, 2024: The commissioner starts accepting applications for licenses.
  • Nov. 1, 2024: The commissioner starts issuing the cultivation facility licenses.
  • Dec. 1, 2024: The commissioner starts issuing licenses for product manufacturing.
  • March 2025: The commissioner starts issuing retail and testing facility licenses.

Once the retail licenses are issued, THC cannabis can finally be sold legally in Delaware, and not before then.

Companies: State of Delaware
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