Is Weed Legal in Delaware?
In Delaware, the use of cannabis for medical purposes is permitted for adult patients with certain serious illnesses. In 2011, Gov. Jack Markell signed the Delaware Medical Marijuana Act (DMMA), allowing qualifying patients and their caregivers to purchase and consume cannabis for medical use. Prior to the signing of the DMMA, possession of cannabis was a criminal offense. However, in December 2015, the Delaware decriminalization law, Delaware House Bill 39 (HB 39), took effect, decriminalizing cannabis possession statewide. Under this bill, Delaware marijuana possession laws changed to make the possession of less than 175 grams of marijuana a misdemeanor and less than 1 ounce of marijuana a civil infraction.
Delaware House Bill 110, which would have made Delaware the tenth state to legalize adult-use cannabis, failed in the Statehouse on June 27, 2018. The bill to amend Delaware marijuana laws was reintroduced in 2019 and cleared for consideration by the House. For now, Delaware recreational marijuana remains decriminalized but not legalized.
The Delaware Department of Health and Social Services (DHSS) houses the Office of Medical Marijuana (OMM) that sets the laws for medical marijuana in Delaware. The OMM is responsible for all licensing, registration, and testing pertaining to Delaware’s Medical Marijuana Program (MMP). The OMM has also developed a registry for patients and caregivers, qualification procedures, and regulations to ensure that medical cannabis is available in a safe and effective manner.
Where is it Safe to Purchase?
Patients and caregivers may only purchase medical cannabis from an OMM-registered compassion center. The OMM assigns patients to a compassion center. If patients are unable to make the purchase themselves, they may designate a caregiver to buy and deliver medical cannabis on their behalf. Patients and caregivers are limited to purchasing only 3 ounces (85 grams) of processed cannabis every 14 days.
Currently, there are no taxes imposed on consumers of medical cannabis.
Where is it Safe to Consume?
Cannabis consumption must take place in a private space. Delaware law prohibits consuming cannabis in public, in a parked motor vehicle, or on private property where tobacco smoking is forbidden.
Delaware law does not protect patients from civil or criminal penalties if they perform tasks under the influence of cannabis that would constitute negligence. Driving under the influence of cannabis is illegal, and consumption in a vehicle is not allowed for drivers or passengers.
Only patients in the registry and their designated caregivers can legally possess medical cannabis. Patients and their caregivers may possess up to 6 ounces (170 grams) at a time. Registered caregivers may possess up to 6 ounces (170 grams) for each patient they assist. A caregiver may have up to five patients and is required to have an ID for each patient. OMM regulations prohibit home cultivation for patients and caregivers.
While cannabis was decriminalized when possessed in small amounts, HB 39 did not legalize possession for personal use. Even when possessing less than an ounce, individuals can incur a civil penalty and have to forfeit the marijuana. The civil penalty is not a recorded offense.
Medical Marijuana Registry
Qualified patients and their caregivers may register with the OMM to access cannabis for medical use. Patients and caregivers are required to apply separately. Patients younger than 18 must have a parent or legal guardian sign on their behalf. Patients must meet certain eligibility requirements before they can receive their medical marijuana registry ID card, which costs $125 and must be renewed annually.
- Terminal illness
- Alzheimer’s disease
- Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), or Lou Gehrig’s disease
- Chronic debilitating migraines
- Decompensated cirrhosis (Hepatitis C)
- Intractable epilepsy
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
- Seizure disorder
- A chronic or debilitating disease or medical condition or its treatment that produces one or more of the following:
- Cachexia, or wasting syndrome
- Intractable nausea
- Multiple sclerosis
- Severe, debilitating pain that has not responded to previously prescribed medication
- Severe, persistent muscle spasms
- Successful adoption of a petition for a qualifying condition, which can be submitted to Delaware Health and Social Services (DHSS).
- Obtain a physician’s certification that confirms the patient suffers from at least one qualifying medical condition.
- Complete and submit the patient application or pediatric patient application online or via mail.
- Pay the non-refundable $125 application fee.
- Submit a photocopy of a Delaware-issued driver’s license or Delaware-issued ID to show proof of age and residency.
Caregivers must qualify for a Designated Caregiver ID card to legally purchase medical cannabis for a patient. Caregivers must be at least 21 years old or be the parent or legal guardian of a minor patient. A caregiver must agree to assist with a patient’s medical use of cannabis and assist no more than five qualifying patients at one time. Designated caregivers must complete an application and pay a $125 fee for each patient. In order to complete the application process, caregivers will need the patient’s 10-digit registry number.
- Complete a Criminal History Background Check and pay $65 fee.
- Complete and submit the caregiver application or pediatric patient application online or via mail.
- Pay the non-refundable $125 application fee.
- Submit a photocopy of a Delaware-issued driver’s license or Delaware-issued ID to show proof of age and residency
All cannabis sold in the state of Delaware must undergo testing for potency and contaminants.