Becoming a Patient in Delaware

It is legal for a patient with a Delaware registry identification card to use cannabis for medical purposes and to appoint a designated caregiver to assist them. Personal cultivation of cannabis, however, is prohibited in Delaware.

What’s Allowed

A registered qualifying patient may possess no more than 6 oz. of “usable marijuana,” which means the dried leaves and flowers of the marijuana plant and any mixture or preparation of the dried leaves and flowers. This includes tinctures, ointments, but seeds, stalks, and roots do not count toward possession limitations. Further, weight limitations do not include the weight of non-marijuana ingredients such as ingredients added to food or drinks. Personal cultivation is not allowed in Delaware. Until the registry identification cards are issued in 2012, there is an affirmative defense available for patients arrested for the medical use of cannabis. This does not prevent arrest or prosecution but can be used to prevent conviction in court. To use this defense you must qualify to become a patient and must not possess more than the legal amount.

Eligible Conditions

Adult Patient Qualifying Conditions

  • Terminal Illness
  • Cancer
  • HIV/AIDS
  • Decompensated cirrhosis
  • ALS (Lou Gehrig's Disease)
  • Alzheimer's Disease
  • PTSD (Note: Only a licensed psychiatrist may certify as to this condition)
  • Intractable epilepsy
  • Autism with self-injurious or aggressive behavior
  • a chronic or debilitating disease or medical condition or its treatment that produces 1 or more of the following:
    • Cachexia or wasting syndrome
    • Intractable nausea
    • Seizures
    • Severe & debilitating muscle spasms, including multiple sclerosis
  • Severe or debilitating pain that has not responded to previous treatment for more than three months, or for which other treatment options produced serious side effects
  • Any other condition added by the Department
    • Citizens may petition to add conditions or treatments to this list, which must be approved by the Department

Minor Patient Qualifying Conditions (Note: For patients under the age of 18 years, the certifying physician must be a pediatric neurologist, pediatric gastroenterologist, pediatric oncologist or pediatric palliative care specialist)

  • Intractable epilepsy
  • Cachexia (Wasting Syndrome)
  • Intractable nausea
  • Severe, painful and persistent muscle spasms

Application Process

  • Must be a resident in the state of Delaware.
  • Must be at least 18 years old.
    • Patients under the age of 18 years, must be certified by a pediatric specialist. A separate application form for minors is provided on the Program’s website.
  • Submit application or renewal fee
  • Submit the Physician Certification, which should be completed by the qualifying patient’s physician and is attached to the application provided on the Program’s website.
  • Sign a consent for release of medical information related to the qualifying patient’s debilitating medical condition.
  • Registry identification cards usually have to be renewed once a year.

Info on applying to be a registered patient from the Department's patient FAQ:

"A patient who wishes to apply for the medical marijuana registry card program should go to the Program's website and download the application documents. The patient application is a four-page, self-explanatory form that should be completed and signed by the patient. The physician certification is a two-page form that the patient’s Delaware-licensed physician should complete and sign. The release of medical information is a one-page form that is signed by the patient, allowing the Office of Medical Marijuana to contact the patient’s physician for the purpose of verifying the doctor/patient relationship and the validity of the physician’s signature on the Physician Certification form."

Doctor

Your doctor can only recommend medical marijuana after your doctor has completed a full assessment of your medical history. Your doctor must be licensed and have the ability to prescribe controlled substances. Doctors are not required to recommend marijuana to a patient, and must exercise a professional standard of care for evaluating or treating a patient’s medical condition.

Access/Dispensaries

Delaware allows one dispensary per county to be chosen via a competitive bidding process. This allows for a total of 3 dispensaries in Delaware. Registered “compassion centers” must operate on a not for profit basis, may not dispense more than 3 oz. of marijuana to a single patient in any 14 day period, and may not employ anyone under the age of 21. Compassion centers must also be approved by a registered safety compliance center. Patients must designate one of the three compassion centers and only use that center. Registered compassion centers cannot dispense more than 3 oz. of marijuana to a single patient in any 14-day period.

Currently First State Compassion Center is the only center licensed by the Department.  However, the Kent County Compassion Center is expected to open sometime in 2017. 

Discrimination

No school, landlord, or employer may be penalized or denied any benefit under state law for enrolling, leasing to, or employing a cardholder.

Employment

Unless a failure to do so would cause the employer to lose a monetary or licensing-related benefit under federal law or federal regulations, an employer may not discriminate against a person in hiring, termination, or any term or condition of employment, or otherwise penalize a person, if the discrimination is based on the person’s status as a cardholder or the patient’s positive drug test, unless the patient used or was impaired by marijuana during the hours of employment.

Employers are allowed to prohibit or permit the ingestion of marijuana in the workplace, but a patient is not considered under the influence of marijuana solely because of the presence of metabolites or components of marijuana. Also, employers may discipline employees for ingesting marijuana in the workplace or for working under the influence.

Housing

No school or landlord may penalize a person solely for his or her status as a registered qualifying patient or a registered designated caregiver, unless failing to do so would cause the school or landlord to lose a monetary or licensing-related benefit under federal law or regulations.

Property owners, however, are not required to allow a guest to smoke marijuana on his property.

Child Custody

A person otherwise entitled to custody of or visitation or parenting time with a minor shall not be denied such a right, and there shall be no presumption of neglect or child endangerment, for conduct allowed under this chapter, unless the person's actions in relation to marijuana were such that they created an unreasonable danger to the safety of the minor as established by clear and convincing evidence.

Medical Care

For the purposes of medical care, including organ transplants, a registered qualifying patient's authorized use of marijuana in accordance with this chapter shall be considered the equivalent of the authorized use of any other medication used at the direction of a physician, and shall not constitute the use of an illicit substance or otherwise disqualify a qualifying patient from needed medical care.

A government medical assistance program or private health insurer, however, is not required to reimburse a person for costs associated with the medical use of marijuana.

Out-of-State Patients

Delaware allows access to medical marijuana for visiting patients that:

  1. Have been diagnosed with a debilitating medical condition;
  2. Possess a valid registry identification card or its equivalent that was issued in another state; and
  3. Are not a resident of Delaware or have been for less than 30 days.

Restrictions

Registered patients may not possess or use marijuana in a school bus, on school grounds, in any correctional facility, or in any health care or treatment facility that is operated or funded by the Department of Health and Social Services.
Registered patients may not smoke marijuana in any form of transportation or any public place.

Registered patients are prohibited from operating any motor vehicle under the influence of marijuana and from undertaking any task under the influence that would constitute negligence or professional malpractice.

Registered patients cannot give or sell marijuana to non-patients.

Confidentiality

The list of patients maintained by the State is confidential.

Fees

Patients must mail all three forms, along with the application fee of $125 and a copy of the patient’s Delaware state-issued driver’s license or identification card, to the Division of Public Health, Office of Medical Marijuana, 417 Federal Street, Suite 205, Dover, DE 19901.