This story has been updated to correct tax and licensing information.
Marijuana – and the implications of its legalization in Delaware on certain state agencies – was part of the discussion in Wednesday’s Joint Finance Committee hearings.
The Department of Safety and Homeland Security is set to receive a little over $5 million of the total request is specifically in response to the marijuana legislation. .
The Department of Justice, which also had its JFC hearing Thursday, asked for $356,000 to reallocate positions relating to the marijuana control act.
The finance committee is responsible for setting the fiscal year 2025 state budget – which starts July 1 – and allocating funding to different programs and organizations throughout Delaware. It uses Gov. John Carney’s proposed budget as one of the touchstones for decisions.
Its members had questions on how the recent marijuana legislation would affect staffing and finances.
Marijuana and jobs
In addition to Homeland Security’s nearly $227 million in Gov. John Carney’s recommended budget for next year, the department asked the committee for an additional $175,900 for uniforms, supplies and other start-up needs for the capitol police officers at the Sussex County Family Courthouse.
The extra ask would also cover the cost of handguns for capitol police.
The fiscal note on the bill that authorized the state to set up and oversee the growth and sale of marijuana said the state would need $4,765,969 in total state cost for fiscal year 2025.
The marijuana money would go:
- Office of the Marijuana Commissioner: Funds would purchase a software application that can track marijuana “seed to sale.” The program provides compliance oversight, process guidance, product tracking, guidelines and support to licensed businesses in the cultivation, processing and selling of marijuana.
- Marijuana Control Act Structural Changes: Funds would be used for reallocation of positions in the Attorney General Office and the Division of Alcohol and Tobacco Enforcement, as well as other agencies to reflect structural changes.
When marijuana is sold, Coupe said, there will be a 15% sales tax on marijuana products.
“It will create the implementation of over 34 state positions,” Coupe said. “Only five of those positions are actually in existence.”
Robert Coupe, a former Delaware State Police superintendent who is the state’s first marijuana commissioner, pointed out that applications will start rolling in this year, and the state must determine how it charges applicants for a license.
The state will use 127 licenses, ranging from $1,000 to $10,000 for various stages in the growth and sale of marijuana.
Or, they could come up with some formula, like New Jersey has, which weighs factors such as the size of the business, for example.
He also said the commission projects about 85,000 customers, which could generate about $42 million in tax revenue in 2026.
Also in Wednesday’s hearing, Sen. Laura Sturgeon D-Hockessin, and others, including public commenters, wanted to make sure there was set funding for victim specialists in both departments to engage with those who have suffered from domestic and other types of abuse.
Raised in Doylestown, Pennsylvania, Jarek earned a B.A. in journalism and a B.A. in political science from Temple University in 2021. After running CNN’s Michael Smerconish’s YouTube channel, Jarek became a reporter for the Bucks County Herald before joining Delaware LIVE News.
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