Medicinal cannabis companies operating in Delaware are opposing a commercial, adult-use cannabis bill and medicinal cannabis patients and legalization advocates are not happy about it. During a hearing for House Bill 150, which would legalize recreational cannabis and establish commercial industry guidelines, four of Delaware’s six medicinal cannabis companies testified against the bill. Those companies are CannTech Research Inc., CCRI, Columbia Care, and EZY Venture. Their opposition hinged on claims that legalization would result in “oversupply”—a common and fraught talking point by those already in the cannabis industry who want to maintain their stronghold over it.
“This market belongs to the long-time consumers, patients, and activists. We create the demand, we’ve been the ones driving the reform efforts, and we pay the prices at dispensaries. Cannabis is more than a market—cannabis is a community,” said Zoë Patchell, the Executive Director of Delaware Cannabis Advocacy Network (CAN) via press release. “These companies cannot reasonably fathom that we are going to purchase cannabis from any entity that has proven to put profits over patients. And now they seem willing to put consumers’ lives and freedom at risk just to hold out for an unfair advantage in the industry.”
HB 150, is fairly limited. Delaware residents would not be able to grow their own plants and public consumption would remain against the law, but it would open up the industry significantly which in the eyes of medicinal cannabis companies—which the Delaware CAN press release calls “the permit cartel”—is a problem. In response, they have demanded they receive adult-use licenses when cannabis is legalized.
“It’s despicable that these companies, which already profit from patients and our advocacy, would fight against our all-volunteer efforts to fully legalize cannabis,” said Laura Sharer, Executive Director of Delaware NORML in the press release. “Especially while so many patients continue to suffer, and arrests for simple cannabis possession actually continue in the state.”
Last month, when HB 150 passed the House Health and Human Development Committee—the first of many legislative hurdles—Delaware Governor John Carney stressed his concern over legalization.Carney, who was in favor of decriminalization and medicinal cannabis, “still has concerns about legalizing recreational marijuana,” a spokesperson told the Associated Press.
What is currently happening with commercial, adult-use cannabis in Delaware should be all too familiar to those paying attention to Maryland’s cannabis comings and goings. As The Outlaw Report noted earlier this week, Mackie Barch, CEO of medicinal cannabis company Culta, has spoken out against legalization and according to one state lawmaker, influenced Maryland legislators’ decision not to move legalization bills forward this session.
Meanwhile, Virginia, which has only recently gotten its medicinal cannabis program going, is expediting its cannabis legalization to July of this year.