In the coming days, Gov. John Carney will decide if he will once again veto a bill that would legalize marijuana or if he will allow it to become law in Delaware.
A Carney spokeswoman confirmed Thursday the bill has been released to the governor’s office but did not immediately say when that occurred. She also declined to comment on if Carney will sign or veto the legislation.
Because the General Assembly is in session, Carney has 10 days (this doesn’t include Sundays) to take action. The clock starts when the bill is released to his office. He has three options: He can sign it, he can veto it, or he can not sign it and let the bill become law without his signature.
Does this sound familiar?
Delaware has been in this position before.
In a historic moment last year, Carney vetoed a similar legalization bill, finding himself at odds with many in the Democratic Party. Lawmakers made the rare attempt to override a governor’s veto, but Democrats failed to get enough votes.
What’s different about this year?
Unlike last year, the Delaware General Assembly in late March overwhelmingly passed two pieces of recreational marijuana legislation:
- One would legalize the “personal use quantity” of marijuana, which varies by cannabis form, for people ages 21 and older.
- The other would create and regulate a recreational marijuana industry.
Rep. Ed Osienski, a Newark Democrat who has shepherded this legislation for years, was also able to get hesitant Democrats to sign on and also benefited from the new progressive Democrats who have recently been elected.
House Speaker Pete Schwartzkopf was the sole Democrat to not support the legalization bill. He voted in favor of the regulation bill.
If Carney decides to veto this legalization bill, it’s once again unclear if Democrats have the political will to override him. It’s also unclear when the second bill, to create a recreational marijuana industry, will be released to the governor’s office. Once that occurs, a separate 10-day clock starts.