Delaware Officials Release Third Round Of Draft Rules For Marijuana Testing, Disposal And More As State Works To Launch Legal Market

Delaware Officials Release Third Round Of Draft Rules For Marijuana Testing, Disposal And More As State Works To Launch Legal Market

Delaware officials have released a third package of informal draft rules for the state’s adult-use marijuana market that’s set to launch next year.

The Office of the Marijuana Commissioner (OMC) published the proposed regulations on Monday, with new sections related to issues such as cannabis testing, sampling, disposal, variances and fee schedules.

For its initial batch of rules last month, the office provided a basic framework for various cannabis business license types and requirements for the application process. That was followed with regulations on tracking, transportation, health standards, packaging and advertising.

The office has said it will be regularly releasing draft rules as it prepares for the implementation of the legalization under a pair of marijuana bills that Gov. Jay Carney (D) allowed to become law without his signature last year.

An informal public comment period is now open for all of the proposed rules through March 29, but regulators have emphasized that this will not be the last chance to weigh in, as they’re aiming to have a formal comment window open once all rules are finalized between May 1-31.

“OMC continues to encourage stakeholders and members of the public to review these preliminary, draft regulations in the informal process, as well as the officially proposed regulations when published later in the Register of Regulations,” the office said.

Delaware Marijuana Commissioner Robert Coupe previewed plans to publish the first proposed rules during a hearing before the legislature’s Joint Finance Committee last month.

He also disclosed that retail marijuana sales in the state may not start until March 2025, four months later than initially planned. But officials are also considering the possibility of allowing existing medical cannabis dispensaries to start serving adult consumers sooner.

Coupe said that the current plan is to finalize rules for the adult-use cannabis program by July 11, start accepting license applications in September and begin approving different license types on a staggered schedule in October. Cultivation licenses could be approved beginning in November, followed by manufacturer licenses in December and retailer and testing licenses in March 2025.

Meanwhile, the Delaware House of Representatives also approved a bill in January to significantly expand the state’s medical marijuana program.

The legislation from Rep. Ed Osienski (D) would make a series of changes to the state program, including removing limitations for patient eligibility based on a specific set of qualifying health conditions. Instead, doctors could issue marijuana recommendations for any condition they see fit.

It would also allow patients over the age of 65 to self-certify for medical cannabis access without the need for a doctor’s recommendation.

Osienski, who also sponsored the legislation to legalize cannabis that’s being implemented, recently said that he will be introducing cleanup legislation in the coming days to help “get the industry up and running.”

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Last year, after the passage of his two bills to legalize cannabis, Osienski gave advice to lawmakers in other states who are pushing for marijuana reform.

“The key was just to keep plugging away at it and see what the other states have done and see what works best for your state,” he said last May.

He also advised legislators to sit down with “affected state agencies” like the Departments of Health, Finance and Agriculture.

“We had to sit down through meeting after meeting to try to work out a lot of the issues,” he said.

Separately, the Delaware Senate separately approved a resolution last March that urges the state’s congressional representatives to support legislation to end federal cannabis prohibition.

In 2022, Carney vetoed a more narrowly tailored bill that would have clarified that medical marijuana patients are not prohibited from buying, possessing or transferring firearms under state law.

Virginia Lawmaker Slams Governor For Vetoing Bill To Protect Marijuana Consumers’ Parental Rights

Photo courtesy of Philip Steffan.

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