Is weed legal in Delaware?
In Delaware, the use of cannabis for medical purposes is permitted for adult patients with certain serious illnesses. Recreational, or adult-use, cannabis is illegal, though possession of small amounts (less than an ounce) is decriminalized.
In 2011, Gov. Jack Markell signed the Delaware Medical Marijuana Act (DMMA), allowing qualifying patients to purchase and consume cannabis for medical use.
In 2015, Delaware House Bill 39 (HB 39) decriminalized cannabis possession statewide, making the possession of less than 6.2 ounces (175 grams) of marijuana a misdemeanor and less than 1 ounce (28 grams) of marijuana a civil infraction.
In 2019, Gov. John Carney signed Senate Bill 37, which amended the state’s criminal code, allowing people with one cannabis misdemeanor or one felony to have their record expunged after five years or seven years, respectively.
Delaware House Bill 110, which would have made Delaware the tenth state to legalize adult-use cannabis, failed in the Statehouse in June 2018. The bill to amend Delaware marijuana laws was reintroduced in 2019 and cleared for consideration by the House but didn’t progress.
The Delaware Department of Health and Social Services (DHSS) houses the Office of Medical Marijuana (OMM), which oversees the 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. 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.
Licensed dispensaries in Delaware
Medical marijuana cardholders can find licensed dispensaries in Delaware and search by city, including Wilmington, Newark, and Dover. Many dispensaries in Delaware offer delivery and curbside pickup services in addition to storefront sales.
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. 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, $100, is not a recorded offense. Possession of more than an ounce could result in a misdemeanor charge with a $575 fine and three months in prison.
Medical Marijuana Registry
Qualified patients and their caregivers must register with the MMP 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. Patients must:
- Be at least 18 or have parental consent
- Have a qualifying condition
- Obtain a doctor’s certification
- Provide proof of Delaware residency
- Alzheimer’s disease
- Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), or Lou Gehrig’s disease
- Cachexia, or wasting syndrome
- Chronic debilitating migraines
- Hepatitis C
- Intractable epilepsy
- Intractable nausea
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
- Seizure disorder
- Severe autism
- Severe, persistent muscle spasms, including multiple sclerosis
- Severe, debilitating pain that has not responded to previously prescribed medication
- Terminal illness
Patients and caregivers can also petition Delaware Health and Social Services (DHSS) to include additional conditions.
- 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 $50 application fee.
- Submit a photocopy of a Delaware-issued driver’s license or ID to show proof of age and residency. Parents or guardians can submit their IDs.
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 be a Delaware resident, agree to assist with a patient’s medical use of cannabis, and assist no more than five qualifying patients. 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 and a receipt showing they paid $65 to the State Bureau of Identification and requested a criminal background report be sent to OMM.
- Complete and submit the caregiver application or pediatric patient application online or via mail.
- Pay the non-refundable $50 application fee.
- Submit a photocopy of a Delaware-issued driver’s license or ID to show proof of age and residency
All cannabis sold in the state of Delaware must undergo testing for:
- Foreign matter
- Residual solvents
This page was last updated October 6, 2020.