Delaware Officials Post New Draft Rules For Marijuana Tracking, Advertising And Packaging As State Prepares To Launch Legal Market

Delaware marijuana regulators have released a second batch of draft rules as the state prepares to implement a legal adult-use cannabis market next year.

The Office of the Marijuana Commissioner (OMC) published the draft regulations on Wednesday, covering issues such as product tracking, transportation, health standards, packaging and advertising.

This comes about two weeks after the office posted an initial round of draft regulations providing a basic framework for various cannabis business license types and requirements for the application process.

The office has said it will be regularly releasing draft rules as it prepares for the implementation of the legalization under a pair of marijuana bills that Gov. Jay Carney (D) allowed to become law without his signature last year.

An informal public comment period is now open for both sets of rules through March 29, but regulators have emphasized that this will not be the last chance to weigh in, as they’re aiming to have a formal comment window open once all rules are finalized between May 1-31.

“Please take the time to review the sections of the regulations as they are posted. OMC will continue to add sections of the regulations over the next several weeks, so please check back to comment on subsequent section releases,” the office said. “Please be as descriptive as possible if you are suggesting any changes.”

Delaware Marijuana Commissioner Robert Coupe previewed plans to publish the first proposed rules during a hearing before the legislature’s Joint Finance Committee earlier this month.

He also disclosed that retail marijuana sales in the state may not start until March 2025, four months later than initially planned. But officials are also considering the possibility of allowing existing medical cannabis dispensaries to start serving adult consumers sooner.

Coupe said that the current plan is to finalize rules for the adult-use cannabis program by July 11, start accepting license applications in September and begin approving different license types on a staggered schedule in October. Cultivation licenses could be approved beginning in November, followed by manufacturer licenses in December and retailer and testing licenses in March 2025.

Meanwhile, the Delaware House of Representatives also approved a bill last month to significantly expand the state’s medical marijuana program.

The legislation from Rep. Ed Osienski (D) would make a series of changes to the state program, including removing limitations for patient eligibility based on a specific set of qualifying health conditions. Instead, doctors could issue marijuana recommendations for any condition they see fit.

It would also allow patients over the age of 65 to self-certify for medical cannabis access without the need for a doctor’s recommendation.

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Last year, after the passage of his two bills to legalize cannabis, Osienski gave advice to lawmakers in other states who are pushing for marijuana reform.

“The key was just to keep plugging away at it and see what the other states have done and see what works best for your state,” he said last May.

He also advised legislators to sit down with “affected state agencies” like the Departments of Health, Finance and Agriculture.

“We had to sit down through meeting after meeting to try to work out a lot of the issues,” he said.

Separately, the Delaware Senate separately approved a resolution last March that urges the state’s congressional representatives to support legislation to end federal cannabis prohibition.

In 2022, Carney vetoed a more narrowly tailored bill that would have clarified that medical marijuana patients are not prohibited from buying, possessing or transferring firearms under state law.

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