The Delaware House failed to override Gov. John Carney’s veto on the marijuana legalization bill. The cannabis bill that managed to reach the governor’s desk would have removed all penalties for adults over 21 for possessing less than an ounce of weed. Unfortunately, the House didn’t manage to gather enough votes on Tuesday to override Governor’s veto.
Why did Carney veto the bill in the first place?
While Carney has expressed an openness to support medical marijuana over the years, he’s also stated that he does not “believe that promoting or expanding the use of recreational marijuana is in the best interests of the state of Delaware, especially our young people.”
He cited his decision to veto due to questions surrounding the “long-term health and economic impacts” of marijuana and “serious law enforcement concerns.”
Rep. Ed Osienski who sponsored the bill was hoping to gather enough votes to override the veto, but he fell five votes short, garnering 20 instead of the minimum of 25. In May, the bill had 26 votes, which send it to the Senate. So, what happened this time? Four Democrats, Majority Leader Valerie Longhurst, Sean Matthews, Bill Carson and Andria Bennett in addition to Republicans Mike Ramone and Jeffrey Spiegelman, changed their votes, reported WHYY.
Osienski urged his colleagues to stand by their initial votes and respect the will of Delawareans and override Gov. Carney who leaves office in January 2025 after two terms.
“We need legalization,’’ Osienski said on the House floor minutes prior to the roll call vote. “So I beg of my colleagues not to wait until 2025 to do this.”
He added that “we need to fix this problem instead of just denying the freedom and the liberty of Delawareans to be able to purchase this product.”
Though disappointed with the results, Osienski said he was pleased to be “working for Delawareans.”
Emily David, the governor’s spokesperson, said Carney “thanks the House for today’s vote and respects the role of the General Assembly and all of its members in this process. He looks forward to working with them on the important issues that remain this session.”