Hopes for the bill went up in smoke as it fell four votes short of passage.
House Bill 110, which sponsor Rep. Helene Keeley said would have established the framework and commission to tax, regulate and distribute cannabis legally in Delaware, was defeated in a June 27 vote in the House.
The bill was modeled off existing laws governing the regulation of alcohol.
The bill garnered only 21 positive votes in the House, while 15 members voted against it. Five representatives abstained from casting a ballot.
The bill required a 3/5 majority, or 25 votes for passage.
Shortly after the results were announced at 8:30 p.m., Keeley issued the following statement:
“While I am disappointed that we did not have enough votes to pass HB 110, I am encouraged by the progress we have made on this issue. When Sen. Margaret Rose Henry and I began this process several years ago, there were many questions surrounding how to implement cannabis regulation in the First State.
“Since that time, public support and momentum for cannabis legalization only continues to grow, and I truly hope that we are able to see this eventually come to fruition for Delaware. We have an incredible opportunity to create an entirely new industry in Delaware that will support jobs, economic development and state funding.
“Through our work with stakeholders throughout the state we have seen how cannabis can be regulated strictly and safely, and I believe we have a strong framework to move forward. Delaware has already decriminalized possession of small amounts of cannabis and approved medical marijuana for patients. Recreational legalization is a natural progression on this topic.
“This has been an issue I have championed throughout my tenure in the Delaware Legislature and am confident the conversation and work will continue.”
That work will have to continue without Keeley, as the veteran legislator recently announced her retirement from the General Assembly.