DOVER, Del.- Now that recreational marijuana is legal in Delaware, the state has to determine how to manage the industry.
This week, a General Assembly committee approved about four million dollars toward that goal.
There is much to be accomplished before the cannabis market becomes a reality, and some advocates are concerned that the process will take longer than expected.
Governor John Carney allowed legal marijuana legislation to pass without his signature. Now, he is tasked with finding a cannabis commissioner for the state.
State Rep. Ed Osienski (D-Dist. 24) provided insight into when that might happen.
"September 29th of this year is the deadline for the governor to select a commissioner," said Rep. Osienski. "By August 1, 2024, the commissioner shall begin accepting applications for all licenses."
James Brobyn, President of the Delaware Cannabis Industry Association, believes that timeline may be too optimistic.
"Sixteen months to have actual products being sold in dispensaries in Delaware, I think, is wishful thinking. Honestly, I think it's going to be very hard for the state to both appoint a commissioner and write all the rules," expressed Brobyn.
Brobyn suggests that the state should collaborate with the medical marijuana industry to expedite the process and enhance safety. Osienski advises Delawareans to be patient.
"People need to be careful not to get caught up and think that this is completely legal now. Delaware should be up and running in about a year and a half or so," Osienski explained.
Brobyn is concerned that this interim period will expand the illicit market.
"That creates a gap in the market that's going to be filled by the illicit market through gifting as well as illegal dispensaries in the state. I'd be shocked if we didn't see a bunch of those pop up over the summer," expressed Brobyn.
Once the commissioner is appointed, they are expected to issue 30 retail licenses.
Additionally, the Joint Finance Committee approved a 15 percent sales tax on marijuana products in the meeting held yesterday. However, these funds still require approval from the full General Assembly.