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Recreational marijuana market pushes forward with new regulations and social equity workshops

Delaware Public Media

The Office of the Marijuana Commissioner (OMC) posts proposed marijuana regulations for public review as strides to open the adult-use market in Delaware continue.

The potential guidelines cover issuing marijuana establishment licenses, inspection and packaging standards, as well as testing methods for the Delaware recreational marijuana market.

Marijuana Commissioner Rob Coupe says the regulations are open for public comment until June 3, and after reviewing stakeholder recommendations, a final posting could be released July 11.

During the Marijuana Control Act Oversight Committee’s February meeting, some members pushed for apothecary-style dispensing — allowing consumers to see and smell the product before purchasing it.

Coupe says the office ultimately decided to enforce the more common pre-packaged dispensing style for safety reasons, but there is a caveat.

“They would have to explain to us how they’re going to ensure safety of the product, safety of the consumer and how they’re going to do that safely, but if there is a demand for it so to speak, and if the retailer wants to go that way, there will be a pathway for them to get permission to do it.”

He says if all goes smoothly, the adult-use recreational market is still on track to award retail dispensary licenses in March 2025.

In addition to the new regulations, OMC also announces registration is open for its Social Equity Workshops taking place in June of this year.

Social equity licenses are available to individuals who have been arrested for a marijuana-related crime or have lived in a disproportionately impacted area for five of the past 10 years.

Disproportionately impacted areas include regions in Delaware where there were high rates of marijuana-related arrests or convictions before recreational use was legalized.

Coupe says the workshops will provide an overview of social equity eligibility, banking, taxes, legal matters, real estate and an overview of the marijuana industry.

“We’re actually working on a piece that will likely start in June also, and that will be an online opportunity for folks to confirm that they’re eligible to apply as a social equity applicant," he says.

Coupe explains that piece is largely dependent on the development of a Social Equity Disproportionately Effected Area Map, which is being created based on marijuana arrest data. He says the map will help applicants determine their eligibility based on where they live.

If an individual qualifies for a social equity license, they will have special discounts and grant opportunities for marijuana cultivation, manufacturing, testing and retail licenses in the state.

Registration for the workshops can be found here and dates and locations are as follows:

  • New Castle County (6/5/2024) Stanton Campus Delaware Technical Community College (400 Stanton Christiana Rd, Newark, DE 19713)
  • Sussex County (6/12/2024) Owens Campus Delaware Technical Community College (21179 College Dr, Georgetown, DE 19947)
  • City of Wilmington (6/18/2024) Wilmington Campus Delaware Technical Community College (333 N Shipley St, Wilmington, DE 19801)
  • Kent County (6/25/2024) DNREC, Richardson & Robbins Building, 89 Kings Hwy SW, Dover, DE 19901
Before residing in Dover, Delaware, Sarah Petrowich moved around the country with her family, spending eight years in Fairbanks, Alaska, 10 years in Carbondale, Illinois and four years in Indianapolis, Indiana. She graduated from the University of Missouri in 2023 with a dual degree in Journalism and Political Science.
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