Delaware Medical Marijuana Laws

Senate Bill 17  (100 KB) — Signed into law by Gov. Jack Markell (D) on May 13, 2011

Approved: By House 27-14, by Senate 17-4

Effective: July 1, 2011

Under this law, a patient is only protected from arrest if his or her physician certifies, in writing, that the patient has a specified debilitating medical condition and that the patient would receive therapeutic benefit from medical marijuana. The patient must send a copy of the written certification to the state Department of Health and Social Services, and the Department will issue an ID card after verifying the information. As long as the patient is in compliance with the law, there will be no arrest.

The law does not allow patients or caregivers to grow marijuana at home, but it does allow for the state-regulated, non-profit distribution of medical marijuana by compassion centers.

Approved Conditions: Approved for treatment of debilitating medical conditions, defined as cancer, HIV/AIDS, decompensated cirrhosis, ALS, Alzheimer’s disease, post-traumatic stress disorder; or a medical condition that produces wasting syndrome, severe debilitating pain that has not responded to other treatments for more than three months or for which other treatments produced serious side effects, severe nausea, seizures, or severe and persistent muscle spasms.

Possession/Cultivation: Patients 18 and older with certain debilitating conditions may possess up to six ounces of marijuana with a doctor’s written recommendation. A registered compassion center may not dispense more than 3 ounces of marijuana to a registered qualifying patient in any fourteen-day period, and a patient may register with only one compassion center.

[Editor’s Note: On Feb. 12, 2012, Gov. Markell released the following statement (presented in its entirety), available on, in response to a letter from US District Attorney Charles Oberly  (2 MB):

“I am very disappointed by the change in policy at the federal department of justice, as it requires us to stop implementation of the compassion centers. To do otherwise would put our state employees in legal jeopardy and I will not do that. Unfortunately, this shift in the federal position will stand in the way of people in pain receiving help. Our law sought to provide that in a manner that was both highly regulated and safe.”

Although the Governor suspended implementation of the compassion centers, Senate Bill 17 contains a provision that allows for an affirmative defense for individuals “in possession of no more than six ounces of usable marijuana.”]

The Apr. 2012 Delaware Register of Regulations included the proposed regulations for theDelaware medical marijuana program  (250 KB).

Do you live in Delaware and use medical marijuana? Tell us how it changed your life in a comment below!

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