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Learn About Marijuana In Delaware


Frequently Asked Questions About Marijuana in Delaware

At 35-miles across at the widest point and close to 100 miles in length, Delaware is the second smallest state in geographic size in the United States, next to Rhode Island. Located between New Jersey, Maryland, and Pennsylvania, Delaware is home to around one million residents, 381 miles of tidal coastline, and a growing marijuana program.

Is Marijuana Legal in Delaware?

As of March 2017, medical marijuana has been legalized in Delaware. Additionally, the state has decriminalized possession of limited amounts for adults 21 and up.

When Did Marijuana Become Legal in Delaware?

The Delaware Medical Marijuana Act was signed into law in May 2011, allowing residents with approved medical conditions to access marijuana for treatment. Decriminalization, which removed penalties such as a marks on one’s criminal record, jail, and fines, became law in December 2015.

Where Are Dispensaries in Delaware Located?

Dispensaries, or compassion centers, cannot be fully banned by any city, town, or county. Despite medical marijuana having been legalized in 2011, the first compassion center location was not fully operational until the summer of 2015.

As of August 2018, three compassion centers, aka dispensaries, have opened and can legally serve patients.

Are Delaware Dispensaries Medical? Recreational? Both?

In the coming years, lawmakers in Delaware are expected to push for adult-use legalization, similar the measure in Colorado or, more recently, Massachusetts.

Until then, only medical marijuana dispensaries may operate legally.

Who Can Be a Medical Marijuana Patient in Delaware?

To be issued a registration card to purchase medical marijuana in Delaware, adults 18 and older must receive a positive diagnosis for one (or more) of the following medical conditions:

  • Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS)
  • Decompensated cirrhosis (such as those seen in Hepatitis C)
  • Cancer
  • HIV or AIDS
  • Agitation of Alzheimer's disease
  • Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)*
  • Intractable epilepsy
  • Autism, with aggressive or self-injurious behavior
  • Any terminal illness

If a condition, disease, or treatment produces any of the following, it may also be an acceptable diagnosis:

  • Cachexia, also known as wasting syndrome
  • Severe pain which has not responded to previous medical treatment - whether through surgery or medication - for a duration of at least 90 days. In the event the medication or treatment options cause severe side effects, medical marijuana may be recommended.
  • Severe nausea
  • Seizures
  • Persistent or severe muscle spasms, such as those seen in Multiple Sclerosis

Any patient diagnosed with PTSD must be recommended to the program by a psychiatrist. Additionally, minors under 18 may participate in the program, but Delaware has further limited the illnesses or conditions which, in pediatrics, may be acceptably treated with cannabis:

  • Intractable epilepsy
  • Cachexia or wasting syndrome
  • Severe nausea
  • Painful, persistent, or severe muscle spasms

How Do I Become a Medical Marijuana Patient in Delaware?

After receiving a certification from a physician qualified to practice medicine in Delaware, any certified patient must submit an application to the Delaware Division of Public Health. What you’ll need:

 

  • Proof of residency in Delaware
  • Doctor certification
  • Proof of ID (such as a birth certificate)
  • Application fee ($125/ year)

 

Any patient younger than 18 must be recommended by a pediatric neurologist, pediatric gastroenterologist, pediatric oncologist, or pediatric palliative care specialist.

The parent or legal guardian of any patient under 18 must consent in writing to the treatment and agree to be the minor’s caregiver.

Where Can I Consume Marijuana?

The final regulations supporting the Delaware medical marijuana program prohibit the use of marijuana:

  • In any school bus or vehicle accessible to the public
  • On the grounds of any school (except by the patient caregiver, as medically necessary)
  • At a patient or caregiver’s place of employment
  • At a public park
  • At a youth recreation center
  • In any public place

Public places can include, but are not limited to: alleys, parking lots, sidewalks, streets, parks, playgrounds, stores, restaurants, and anywhere the public is generally accepted.

Public consumption is punishable by a $100 fine and possible forfeiture of the marijuana.

How Do I Find a Job in the Marijuana Industry of Delaware?

All compassion center employees must be at least 21 years old, live in Delaware, and cannot have been convicted by of a misdemeanor-level drug offense in the last five years. Additionally, the individual cannot have been convicted of any felony-level offense.

The individual must apply to the compassion center, which will include fingerprinting and a background check  Each step is paid for by the applicant or the compassion center.

Is Drug Testing For Marijuana Legal in Delaware?

Unless the employer is going to lose money to state regulation and laws, employers cannot discriminate, upon hire or during the patient's employment, against an employee solely for being a medical marijuana patient. This does not, however, require an employer to allow the use of marijuana on the job, nor does it stop an employer from assessing if someone is intoxicated while at work by taking a drug test.

Is Delivery of Marijuana Legal in Delaware?

Delivery from a compassion facility to a patient does appear to be legal. During the transportation, all products must be kept in original packaging and sealed, with a description of the product and date.

How Do I Pay for Marijuana in Delaware Dispensaries?

Delaware allows marijuana to be purchased with cash or debit card. The continued illegal status of marijuana on the federal level keeps credit and many financial services from being legally used in dispensary locations.


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Delaware Marijuana Laws

Rather than by ballot initiative, medical marijuana became legal in Delaware by an act of the state congress. Signed into law May 13th, 2011, the Delaware Medical Marijuana Act was passed with over 75 percent support in the state Senate.

To license patients, caregivers, and dispensary locations, the law required a licensing and compliance network be established by the Delaware Division of Public Health, under the Department of Human and Social Services.

The law clarified the limitations and responsibilities for physicians, regulators, patients, and law enforcement and set expectations for how a patient may access marijuana or marijuana-infused products.

In December 2015, over four years after the medical marijuana program became law, lawmakers in the state again voted to reform laws specific to marijuana, this time removing many of the criminal penalties for possession or use of marijuana for adults 21 and older.

Purchase and Possession Limits

Patients and their primary caregiver are able to possess no more than six ounces at any one time. Additionally, a compassion center may sell no more than three ounces to a patient or caregiver every fourteen days.

Under decriminalization laws, adults 21 and older who are caught in possession of one ounce or less of marijuana are subject to a civil fine of $100. Public consumption remains a criminal offense, complete with a $200 fine and misdemeanor charges.

Growing Marijuana at Home

In Delaware, marijuana cannot be grown at home legally by any person. “Compassion centers” are the only facilities in Delaware legally able to grow marijuana for medical patients.

Marijuana and Driving

Driving While Intoxicated

Delaware does not permit the use of marijuana in any vehicle, public or private. Not only is use prohibited, being intoxicated behind the wheel of a vehicle is prohibited for everyone, including valid medical patients.

Any individual caught driving while under the influence of marijuana, which is not determined solely by the presence of any marijuana metabolite in the blood of an individual, may have to spend as many as two months in jail and be fined as much as $1,500 for the first offense.

Driving While in Possession of Marijuana

Delaware allows medical marijuana patients and their primary caregiver to possess marijuana and marijuana-infused products while in a motor vehicle, yet the patient is forbidden from consuming the product while in the vehicle.

Rather, the marijuana must be kept in the original container as sold in the compassion center. To be extra safe, the products should be in a secure place out of reach.

Marijuana and Minors

Delaware prohibits the use of marijuana by people of all ages; however, the penalties fluctuate based on age. For any person between the ages of 18 and 20, possession of one ounce or less of marijuana is penalized by a civil fine of $100.

The use of marijuana for those aged 18-20 remains a misdemeanor punishable by a $200 fine and as many as five days in jail. For those under the age of 18, possession and use remains a misdemeanor, and is fined an amount of $100.

Minors can be registered into the medical marijuana program by their parent or legal guardian. Minor patients must be recommended to the program by a pediatric neurologist, pediatric gastroenterologist, pediatric oncologist, or pediatric palliative care specialist, and the parent or legal guardian must be the primary caregiver and purchase the medication for the child. Underage patients are eligible to purchase pediatric medical marijuana oils from a dispensary, and nothing else.

As defined, a pediatric medical marijuana oil can be one of two things:

  • Cannabidiol (CBD) oil: Containing at least 15 percent CBD and no more than 7 percent THC
  • THC-A oil: Containing at least 15 percent THC-A and no more than 7 percent THC in nonacid form.

Additional formulations of pediatric medical marijuana oils may be recommended and approved by the Medical Marijuana Act Oversight Committee.

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