Becoming a Patient in Delaware

Summary

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.

Eligible Conditions

Adult Patient Qualifying Conditions

  • Cancer
  • Positive status for Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV Positive)
  • Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS)
  • Decompensated cirrhosis
  • Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS / Lou Gehrig's Disease)
  • Agitation of Alzheimer's disease
  • Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) *Note: MUST be a licensed psychiatrist to certify this condition.
  • Intractable epilepsy
  • Autism with self-injurious or aggressive behavior
  • 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 measure for more than three months, or for which other treatment options produced serious side effects.
    • Intractable nausea
    • Seizures
    • Severe and persistent muscle spasms, including but not limited to those characteristic of Multiple Sclerosis

Pediatric Patient Qualifying Conditions

If the qualifying patient is younger than 18 years of age, the physician must be a pediatric neurologist, pediatric gastroenterologist, pediatric oncologist or pediatric palliative care specialist.

  • Intractable epilepsy
  • A chronic or debilitating disease or medical condition where they have failed treatment involving one or more of the following symptoms
    • Cachexia or wasting syndrome
    • Intractable nausea
    • Severe, painful and persistent muscle spasms

Application Process

  • Must be a resident in the state of Delaware.
  • Obtain a copy of your medical records.
  • Obtain written certification of your debilitating medical condition from a physician within 90 days before you apply for a registry identification card.
  • Submit application or renewal fee
  • Submit the name, address, and date of birth of the qualifying patient, the patient’s physician, the patient’s caregiver, and the patient’s designated registered compassion center.
  • Submit a statement signed by the qualifying patient and caregiver, pledging not to give marijuana to anyone who is not a qualifying patient.
  • Registry identification cards usually have to be renewed once a year.
  • If the qualifying patient is younger than 18 years of age, the physician must be a pediatric neurologist, pediatric gastroenterologist, pediatric oncologist or pediatric palliative care specialist.
  • Fill out the application and pay the $125 fee
  • Patients may submit this form to request a fee waiver

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.

Caregivers

A “designated caregiver” is someone who:

  • Is at least 21 years old:
  • Has agreed to assist with a patient’s medical use of marijuana;
  • Has not been convicted of certain felony offenses; and
  • Assists no more than 5 patients.

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.

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:

  • Have been diagnosed with a debilitating medical condition;
  • Possess a valid registry identification card or its equivalent that was issued in another state; and
  • 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.

For more info:

DHSS's Medical Marijuana Program website