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Medical marijuana dispensaries get closer to entering the adult recreational market

Delaware Public Media

State lawmaker Ed Osienski (D-Newark) continues pushing to allow current medical marijuana dispensaries, also known as compassion centers, to legally enter the recreational market early.

While the Marijuana Commissioner plans to begin accepting recreational license applications by this September, this bill would allow compassion centers to apply for a conversion license in August and open for business within months.

While the bill was narrowly voted out of committee due to business competition concerns and worries centers could not keep up with product supply for medical patients, Osienski added an amendment to remedy the latter concern.

“We decided to put much stronger language in the legislation to ensure we have a healthy supply of medical marijuana for medical patients while these compassion centers are converting over to also be able to sell, grow and manufacture recreational marijuana," he said.

The new addition of the bill also increases the conversion license fee from $100,000 to $200,000 and ensures those funds assist the social equity license program – a grant program for individuals who have been affected by prohibition looking to enter the marijuana businesses.

Those interested in applying for the social equity license program must submit a validation form before July 15, 2024, to see if they qualify.

To qualify, an applicant must have either resided for at least 5 of the preceding 15 years in an area with high rates of arrest, conviction and incarceration for marijuana-related offenses, have been convicted of or an adjudicated delinquent of a marijuana-related offense under Delaware law or has a parent, legal guardian, child, spouse or dependent who was convicted of or adjudicated delinquent for any marijuana-related offense.

The Office of the Marijuana Commissioner recently launched the Disproportionately Impacted Area Map, which individuals can use to see if their address falls within a designated "disproportionately impacted area.” (DIA).

The bill now heads to the Senate for consideration.

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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