Although recreational use of marijuana in the state of Delaware is still illegal, patients who qualify under the Medical Marijuana Program and who obtain a valid MMJ identification card are allowed to purchase, possess and use marijuana.
The original Delaware MMJ legislation dates back to May 2011, when Governor Jack Markell signed a bill allowing patients aged 18+ with a certain qualifying medical condition (see list below) to possess up to six ounces of cannabis.
If you plan on using medical marijuana in Delaware, it is imperative that you go through the official application route and obtain a valid MMJ card, as possession of more than 175 g carries strict criminal penalties. Possession of less than 1 oz has been decriminalized, and is currently classed as a ‘civil penalty’ with a $100 fine.
Possession of more than 1 oz but less than 175 grams, however, is a misdemeanor and can lead to a potential three-month prison sentence.
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More than 175 grams, and you are crossing the line into felony territory with a potential prison sentence of up to three years.
Thus, if you are a medical patient living in Delaware who treats symptoms with marijuana, it is imperative that you begin the process of getting your legal medical marijuana card.
Here is a list of current penalties for the illegal possession, sale, and distribution of cannabis in Delaware:
What is the Delaware Medical Marijuana Card Eligibility Criteria?
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 been diagnosed with one of the following qualifying medical 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. The qualifying conditions for minors are:
- 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?
If you have been diagnosed with one of the aforementioned qualifying medical conditions (and can provide proof in your medical records), and you wish to apply for a medical marijuana card in Delaware, you must:
- Have a state-licensed physician complete the 2-page Physician Certification Form on your behalf (this is part of the 5-page Medical Marijuana Patient Application packet)
- Complete the remainder of the Medical Marijuana Patient Application packet
- Pay the $125 application fee
- Mail the completed application to the appropriate address (see below)
*[Also please note that you MUST be a resident of the state for a minimum of 30 days, and be able to provide proof of residency. Applicants under the age of 18 must submit a separate application form, and be certified by a pediatric specialist].
Here are the steps to apply for a medical marijuana card in Delaware:
Step 1 – Download the application packet and contact a physician
The first step in obtaining a medical marijuana card in Delaware is to contact a physician in regard to completing the application packet’s Physician Certification form. Your primary care doctor may not be willing to fill out the form for you, even if you have medical documentation of a qualifying condition. Physicians are under no obligation to recommend marijuana to their patients.
If your PCP is unwilling to complete the form, there are cannabis-specific doctors in Delaware who may be willing to look over your medical history and sign the recommendation on your behalf (click here for a list of physicians).
Also, please note that a physician may only recommend marijuana if he or she has completed a full assessment of your medical history.
Step 2 – Complete the remainder of the application packet
Once a doctor fills out the Physician Certification form on your behalf, you will then need to complete the remainder of the application packet, which contains two pages of demographic/employment information and a Medical Release Form that you must sign and initial.
[Note that the application MUST be submitted within 90 days of the physician’s signature].
The official state application (including all three forms – the Physician Certification Form, the Patient Application, and the Medical Release Form), can be found here.
Step 3 – Submit your application and pay the appropriate fee
Once the application packet has been completed in its entirety, you will need to submit it (along with the $125 application fee) to:
Delaware Division of Public Health, Medical Marijuana Program
ATTN: MMP, Suite 130
417 Federal Street Dover, DE 19901
Please note that you may also fill out the application and apply online, though faxed and electronic submissions of applications will NOT be accepted.
Also, under certain circumstances the $125 application fee may be waived (you can check whether or not you qualify for a fee waiver by accessing this form).
What Happens When I Am Approved for my Medical Marijuana Card?
Once your application has been completed and submitted successfully, the Delaware Health and Social Services department will either approve or deny it within 45 calendar days. If anything is missing or incomplete, the application will be returned to you with instructions for resubmission. If your application is denied, you must wait a minimum of six months before you can re-apply.
Additional Information and FAQ on Medical Marijuana in Delaware
Where can I buy marijuana in Delaware? There are only 3 state-licensed marijuana dispensaries in Delaware (one for each county). If your application is approved, you will be required to register with ONE of the three:
- Columbia Care Delaware | 200 S Dupont Blvd, Smyrna, DE 19977 // (302) 297-8614
- First State Compassion Center | 37 Germay Dr, Wilmington, DE 19804 // (302) 543-2100
- First State Compassion Center | 12000 Old Vine Blvd Bldg. 4D 102, Lewes, DE 19958 // (302) 281-4888
What about primary caregivers? You are allowed to have a ‘designated’ caregiver (they will have to fill out a separate application), but they must meet the following criteria:
- Be at least 21 years of age
- Have agreed to help you to use your marijuana for medical purposes
- Have never been convicted of a felony offense
- Assist a maximum of five patients
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. In order to renew, you will have to resubmit the entire application packet, including the the Physician Certification Form, the Medical Release Form, and the $125 fee (there is a box at the top of the application asking whether you are a ‘New Patient’ or a ‘Renewing Patient’).
Where can I use medical marijuana in Delaware? You may NOT use marijuana on a school bus, on the property of any preschool, primary or secondary school, or on the property of any correctional facility or health care center. Marijuana use is also prohibited on any form of transportation or in any public place.
Can I grow my own marijuana? No. Cultivation is not allowed in the state of Delaware, even with a valid MMJ card.
How much marijuana can I possess? With a valid MMJ card, you may possess up to 6 oz of marijuana at any one time.
How do the Delaware marijuana dispensaries work? 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.
[For more information on the Delaware Medical Marijuana Program, visit the state’s official FAQ page here].
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