Delaware Marijuana Laws

Democratic Gov. John Carney has signed legislation (HB 285) into law expanding medical cannabis access to seniors and others.

The new law, which took effect upon passage, provides discretion to physicians to issue medical cannabis recommendations to any patient who may benefit from it — regardless of whether or not they suffer from a state-specific qualifying condition. It also allows those ages 65 or older to self-certify for a registration card absent a doctor’s recommendation.

The law also permits state-registered patients from other states to access Delaware dispensaries.

NORML’s Deputy Director Paul Armentano had provided testimony to lawmakers in favor the measure, stating: “Physicians in Delaware are limited to recommending medical cannabis solely to those patients who possess one of a limited number of state-specific qualifying medical conditions. This condition list was created by lawmakers, not by health professionals. A case in point. Neither fibromyalgia nor Tourette Syndrome currently appear on Delaware’s qualifying condition list.”

“… Patients with these and other non-qualifying conditions for which medical marijuana can provide relief should be able to access cannabis following a determination by their physician. A patient’s treatment options should not be limited by the government, but rather, they should be determined in confidence between a patient and their doctor.”

Lawmakers enacted the state’s medical access program in 2011. An estimated 29,000 patients are enrolled in it, according to fall 2023 figures compiled by the Delaware Department of Health and Social Services.

Last year, lawmakers approved legislation legalizing adult-use marijuana possession and retail sales. However, state-licensed retailers are not expected to be operational under the law until the spring of 2025.

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