Legal States

Delaware Medical Marijuana Laws








Section 1.  Amend Title 16 of the Delaware Code by adding a new Chapter 49A to read as follows:

“Chapter 49A.  The Delaware Medical Marijuana Act

§4901A.  Findings.

(a) Marijuana’s recorded use as a medicine goes back nearly 5,000 years. Modern medical research has confirmed the beneficial uses for marijuana in treating or alleviating the pain, nausea, and other symptoms associated with a variety of debilitating medical conditions, including cancer, multiple sclerosis, and HIV/AIDS, as found by the National Academy of Sciences' Institute of Medicine in March 1999.

(b) Studies published since the 1999 Institute of Medicine report have continued to show the therapeutic value of marijuana in treating a wide array of debilitating medical conditions. These include relief of the neuropathic pain caused by multiple sclerosis, HIV/AIDS, and other illnesses that often fails to respond to conventional treatments and relief of nausea, vomiting, and other side effects of drugs used to treat HIV/AIDS and hepatitis C, increasing the chances of patients continuing on life-saving treatment regimens. Specifically, in February 2010, the Center for Medicinal Cannabis Research released a lengthy report that summarized 15 recent studies clearly demonstrating marijuana’s medical efficacy for a broad range of conditions. These studies, many of which were double blind, placebo-controlled trials, included neuropathic pain trials published in the Journal of Pain, Neuropsychopharmacology and Neurology, a study on the analgesic efficacy of smoked marijuana published in Anesthesiology, a study on the mechanisms of cannabinoid analgesia in rats published in Pain, and a study on vaporization as a "smokeless" marijuana delivery system published in Clinical Pharmacology & Therapeutics.

(c) Marijuana has many currently accepted medical uses in the United States, having been recommended by thousands of licensed physicians to at least 350,000 patients in states with medical marijuana laws. Marijuana's medical utility has been recognized by a wide range of medical and public health organizations, including the American Academy of HIV Medicine, the American College of Physicians, the American Nurses Association, the American Public Health Association and the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.

(d) Data from the Federal Bureau of Investigation's Uniform Crime Reports and the Compendium of Federal Justice Statistics show that approximately 99 out of every 100 marijuana arrests in the U.S. are made under state law, rather than under federal law. Consequently, changing state law will have the practical effect of protecting from arrest the vast majority of seriously ill patients who have a medical need to use marijuana.

(e) Alaska, California, Colorado, the District of Columbia, Hawaii, Maine, Michigan, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, New Jersey, Oregon, Vermont, Rhode Island, and Washington have removed state-level criminal penalties from the medical use of marijuana. Delaware joins in this effort for the health and welfare of its citizens.

(f) States are not required to enforce federal law or prosecute people for engaging in activities prohibited by federal law. Therefore, compliance with this act does not put the state of Delaware in violation of federal law.

(g) State law should make a distinction between the medical and non-medical uses of marijuana. Hence, the purpose of this act is to protect patients with debilitating medical conditions, as well as their physicians and providers, from arrest and prosecution, criminal and other penalties, and property forfeiture if such patients engage in the medical use of marijuana.

§4902A.  Definitions.

In this chapter, unless the context otherwise requires, the following definitions shall apply:

(a)     "Cardholder" means a qualifying patient or a designated caregiver who has been issued and possesses a valid

registry identification card.

(b)     “Compassion center agent” means a principal officer, board member, employee, or agent of a registered

compassion center who is 21 years of age or older and has not been convicted of an excluded felony offense. 

(c)  "Debilitating medical condition" means one or more of the following:

(1) cancer, positive status for human immunodeficiency virus, acquired immune deficiency syndrome,

hepatitis C, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, Crohn's disease, agitation of Alzheimer's disease, post-traumatic stress disorder, or the treatment of these conditions;

(2) a chronic or debilitating disease or medical condition or its treatment that produces one or more of the following: cachexia or wasting syndrome; severe, debilitating pain, that has not responded to previously prescribed medication or surgical measures for more than three months or for which other treatment options produced serious side effects; severe nausea; seizures; or severe and persistent muscle spasms, including but not limited to those characteristic of multiple sclerosis;

(3) glaucoma, when the written certification is signed by a properly licensed ophthalmologist subject to Chapter 17, Title 24 of the Delaware Code; or

(4) any other medical condition or its treatment added by the Department, as provided for in §4906A.

(d)  "Department" means the Delaware Department of Health and Social Services or its successor agency.

(e)  "Designated caregiver" means a person who:

(1)  is at least 21 years of age;

(2)  has agreed to assist with a patient's medical use of marijuana;

(3)  has not been convicted of an excluded felony offense; and

(4)  assists no more than five qualifying patients with their medical use of marijuana.

(f)  "Enclosed, locked facility" means a greenhouse, building, or other enclosed area equipped with locks or other

security devices that is on a registered compassion center’s property and permits access only the compassion center agents working for the registered compassion center.

(g)  "Excluded felony offense" means:

(1) a violent crime defined in Title 11, §4214(b), that was classified as a felony in the jurisdiction where the person was convicted; or

(2) a violation of a state or federal controlled substance law that was classified as a felony in the jurisdiction where the person was convicted, not including:

a.  an offense for which the sentence, including any term of probation, incarceration, or supervised release, was completed 10 or more years earlier; or

b.  an offense that consisted of conduct for which this chapter would likely have prevented a conviction, but the conduct either occurred prior to the enactment of this chapter or was prosecuted by an authority other than the state of Delaware.


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