In April 2023, Delaware achieved a noteworthy milestone by becoming the 22nd state to legalize the recreational use of cannabis. This achievement was made possible through the passage of two distinct bills, collectively allowing for the possession, sale, and regulation of cannabis in the state. This legislative action not only underscores Delaware’s progressive stance but also showcases the shifting landscape of cannabis acceptance within the region. Prior to this, Delaware had already established a robust medical cannabis program, ensuring access for patients in need. With the inclusion of recreational cannabis, the state anticipates a significant expansion of the Delaware marijuana market, presenting both economic prospects and improved product accessibility for its residents.
1. Cannabis Possession & Use Is Now Legal For Adults 21+
Delaware has taken a significant step towards cannabis legalization with the enactment of HB 1 on April 22nd, which allows adults aged 21 and older to legally possess up to one ounce of cannabis. This groundbreaking bill was signed into law by Governor John Carney, marking a pivotal moment in the state’s cannabis policy. However, there is a transitional period before licensed cannabis retailers can open their doors.
During this interim period, cannabis enthusiasts will need to acquire marijuana through the same channels they have always used, even if these transactions technically fall under illegal purview. It’s important to note that despite nearby options in New Jersey for purchasing cannabis, transporting marijuana across state lines remains illegal. Cultivating cannabis for personal use also remains prohibited in Delaware. Additionally, gifting cannabis to others is now permitted under the new law, providing a unique legal avenue for sharing Delaware marijuana. Thus, while the law allows for the “purchase” of weed, there is a temporary gap between legalization and the commencement of legal retail sales.
2. Delaware Marijuana Retailers Likely Won’t Be Open Until Late 2024 To Early 2025
Individuals eagerly awaiting the commencement of legal cannabis sales will need to exercise patience, as Delaware marijuana retailers are not expected to open their doors until late 2024 to early 2025. The state has outlined a thorough plan for cannabis licensing under HB 2, allowing for a total of 30 retail and 20 cultivation licenses once the program is fully established. The anticipated timeline for this rollout includes critical milestones such as accepting license applications in May 2024, followed by the initial issuance of licenses in June 2024.
By July 2024, assuming sufficient qualified applicants, 20 microbusiness licenses and 10 social equity licenses will be awarded. Subsequently, in August 2024, another set of licenses, including open, social equity, and microbusiness product manufacturing facility licenses, will be granted. With legal sales expected to initiate between Thanksgiving of 2024 and New Year’s of 2025, aspiring cannabis entrepreneurs and enthusiasts alike will need to await the regulatory processes and licensing procedures set forth by the state of Delaware.
Though a timeline for formal regulations has yet to be established, it is expected that official regulations will be released in spring/summer 2024 to accommodate the licensing timeline.
3. The Delaware Marijuana Market Is Expected To Experience Significant Growth
The prospects for Delaware’s cannabis market are highly optimistic, signaling a period of substantial growth since the legalization of adult-use cannabis in April 2023. According to Statista, projections indicate that the Delaware cannabis market has the potential to yield an impressive $54.1 million in retail cannabis sales by the year 2025.
Beyond the revenue generated for the state through the 15% tax on cannabis sales, this burgeoning industry is poised to significantly bolster Delaware’s economy. The adult-use cannabis market is expected to create approximately 10,000 new jobs, with each dispensary employing about a dozen individuals and cultivators supporting up to 50 workers each.
Each month, 7% of total marijuana tax money received from the preceding month will be contributed to the Justice Reinvestment Fund, under the management of the Department of Justice. These funds will be used for projects to improve quality of life for communities most impacted by the prohibition of marijuana and “war on drugs” era policies. This marks a holistic approach to cannabis legalization and its social impact.
How Can Point Seven Group Help?
The team of cannabis consultants and professionals at Point Seven Group have worked extensively in the U.S. and international cannabis markets and are familiar with the unique challenges of the cannabis industry. Follow us on social media to stay up to date with more cannabis industry updates!
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