House Bill No. 110 (HB 110) was recently introduced in the Delaware legislature to allow for recreational marijuana use by individuals 21 years of age or older. HB 110 would create a regulatory system for recreational marijuana in the state of Delaware that would be very similar to the state’s current system for alcohol and tobacco. Licenses relating to the production and sale of recreational marijuana and marijuana products would be issued through the newly created Division of Marijuana Control and Enforcement in the following categories: (a) retail marijuana stores, (b) marijuana cultivation facilities, (c) marijuana product manufacturing facilities and (d) marijuana testing facilities.
All licenses would be distributed through a competitive scoring system and would require the payment of an application fee and a $10,000 biennial licensing fee. Initially, only 40 retail marijuana store licenses, 75 marijuana cultivation facility licenses, five marijuana testing facility licenses, and 25 marijuana product manufacturing facility licenses would be available statewide, and existing medical marijuana compassion centers would be given priority in the licensing process. Licenses in each of the four categories are required to be issued to qualified applicants within 19 months of the effective date of HB 110. An excise tax would be imposed upon the sale of marijuana to a retail marijuana store or marijuana product manufacturing facility at a rate of (a) $50 per ounce on all marijuana flowers, (b) $25 per immature marijuana plant and (c) $15 per ounce on all other parts of marijuana (other than marijuana flowers or immature plants).
Under HB 110, retail marijuana stores would be subject to the following restrictions:
- Retail marijuana stores would be limited to only selling marijuana, marijuana products, and accessories, and nonconsumable products (such as clothing).
- Retail marijuana stores would be prohibited from selling alcohol, cigarettes and any edible product that does not contain marijuana.
- Retail marijuana stores would only be allowed to be open from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 a.m. on Mondays through Saturdays and from noon to 8:00 p.m. on Sundays, except that during the months of October through December, stores may open at 8:00 a.m. on Fridays and Saturdays and at 10:00 a.m. on Sundays.
- A license may be denied for any proposed store that would be in the vicinity of a church, school or college.
- A license should not be granted when (1) in any incorporated city or town, there is an already existing retail marijuana store within 1200 feet of the proposed store site or (2) in any unincorporated or rural area, there is an already existing retail marijuana store within 1 mile of the proposed store site.
- Local authorities may still establish and enforce local prohibitions, restrictions or regulations with respect to the sale of marijuana.
While it appears unlikely that HB 110 will pass in the current year, the projected deficits within the state budget make the passage of HB 110 a likely possibility in future years.