Unfortunately, recreational use of marijuana in the state of Delaware is illegal. However, it is legal to consume weed for medicinal purposes once you meet specific criteria. State Governor Jack Markell signed legislation in May 2011 that enabled patients aged 18+ to use up to six ounces of cannabis for certain medical conditions.
It is imperative that you receive the MMJ card because illegal possession of marijuana in Delaware carries strict penalties once you have 175+ grams. If you are caught with less than an ounce, you receive a $100 fine in what is classified as a civil penalty. If you have more than an ounce but less than 175 grams, it is a misdemeanor and leads to a potential three-month prison sentence.
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Once you are caught with 175+ grams, it is a felony with a potential prison sentence of up to three years. Therefore, you must carefully read the following eligibility criteria. Here is a list of the penalties for illegal possession, sale, and distribution of cannabis in Delaware.
What Are the Delaware Medical Marijuana Card Eligibility Criterias
Under the terms of Senate Bill 17, which made marijuana legal for medicinal use in Delaware, you need written certification from a physician stating that you could “benefit from the therapeutic use of medicinal marijuana” provided you have one of the stated debilitating conditions. Your physician can authorize the use of marijuana if you have one of the following conditions:
- Any terminal illness
- Alzheimer’s Disease
- Multiple Sclerosis
- Decompensated Cirrhosis
- Conditions that cause severe pain
- Autism that leads to aggressive or self-injurious behavior
- Wasting syndrome
- Intractable nausea and seizures
Medical marijuana is also legal for minors as long as they are approved by a pediatric neurologist, pediatric oncologist, pediatric palliative care specialist or pediatric gastroenterologist and the patient has one of the following conditions:
- Intractable epilepsy
- Cachexia or wasting syndrome
- Muscle spasms that are painful, persistent and severe
- Intractable nausea
For the final three conditions, patients must have already had another form of treatment which failed.
How Do I Apply for a Medical Marijuana Card in Delaware?
Step 1 – Documentation
As well as meeting the eligibility criteria mentioned above, you must also:
- Be a resident of Delaware for a minimum of 30 days.
- Provide a copy of your medical records proving that you are suffering from the debilitating condition.
- Possess a valid Delaware photo I.D. Card
- Provide your name, address, and date of birth.
Step 2 – Find a Licensed Physician in Delaware
The next step involves gaining written documentation from a physician licensed in the state of Delaware that confirms you are a qualifying patient. Unfortunately, not every physician is willing to comply. Click here for a list of physicians in Delaware with a history of writing medical marijuana card recommendations.
Step 3 – Submit Your Application
The next step is to submit a copy of the recommendation from your physician along with a $125 fee. Consideration is given to low-income patients; there is a reduced fee or sliding scale based on your income. In some cases, your doctor will send the documents for you. If he/she doesn’t, fill in this form and send it to the following address:
What Happens When I Am Approved of a Medical Marijuana Card?
Once you have sent the documentation, it should take 7-10 business days before your card arrives in the mail. Even though the law was approved in 2011, it took over a year for full implementation. The first medical marijuana clinic didn’t open in the state until June 2015; it was in Wilmington. At that time, there were only 340 people in all of Delaware who had an MMJ card but now, that number has escalated, and there are three dispensaries at the time of writing:
- The Canna Care
- Global Green Dispensary
- First State Compassion Center
Unfortunately, all three are in the town of Wilmington which means residents of other towns have to make a long journey. Click here for full details of the above dispensaries. There was supposed to be clinics in Kent, Sussex, and New Castle by the beginning of 2013.
What About Primary Caregivers?
You are allowed to have a ‘designated’ caregiver, but they must meet the following criteria:
- Be at least 21 years of age.
- Has agreed to help you to use your marijuana for medical purposes.
- Has never been convicted of a felony offense.
- Assists a maximum of five patients with their medical marijuana.
How Do I Renew My Medical Marijuana Card in Delaware?
Your medical marijuana card is valid for one year from the date it was issued. You are legally required to reapply annually. There is a particular form for the process which you have to fill in and send to the Delaware Department of Health and Social Services.
Additional Information About the Medical Marijuana Card in Delaware
The original plan was to allow one dispensary per county which would be decided via a competitive bidding process. This has not come to pass which means a significant percentage of patients must embark on a several hundred-mile round trip to Wilmington.
All ‘registered compassion centers’ in Delaware are legally required to operate on a ‘not for profit’ basis. As such, these centers are not allowed to provide you with more than three ounces of cannabis in a 14-day period nor can they employ anyone below the age of 21. Once you are a registered medical marijuana user in Delaware, you have to pick one dispensary and stick with it.
You are allowed to use a medical marijuana center in Delaware as an out-of-state patient as long as you have:
- Been diagnosed with a debilitating medical condition.
- A valid registry I.D. card or an equivalent that has been used in another state.
- Not been a resident of Delaware for 30 days or more, or else you are not a resident of the state at all.
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