Delaware marijuana laws
Is marijuana legal in Delaware?
Current federal status
Cannabis is legal for qualified patients with a licensed card.
Medical marijuana is legal in Delaware. A variety of products, including smokable marijuana, is available to medical marijuana card holders.
Patients and caregivers may possess up to six ounces of marijuana at one time.
Possession of up to an ounce of marijuana for recreational use was decriminalized in 2015 (HB 39). The penalty for possession of that amount is now a $100 fine.
Possession of up to 175 grams may result in a misdemeanor conviction, a maximum of three months in jail, and a fine of $575. Possession of more than 175 grams may result in a felony conviction, with jail time and fines contingent upon the amount.
Distribution, sale, and manufacture are felony offenses, with penalties of up to 25 years in jail hinging on the amount of marijuana.
Recreational use has been brought forward under the Delaware Marijuana Control Act (HB 110), which would allow adults 21 and over to possess an ounce of marijuana for recreational use, but the bill has been stagnating in the House Appropriations Committee since June 2019.
Delaware medical marijuana laws
Medical marijuana was legalized in 2011 with the passage of the Medical Marijuana Act (SB 17). Medical patients may possess up to six ounces of marijuana obtained from licensed dispensaries. Maximum THC concentration is not specified in the legislation.
Home cultivation is not permitted.
Delaware qualifying conditions for medical marijuana
Qualifying conditions are physician-diagnosed ailments that can be treated by medical cannabis.
Qualifying conditions to become a medical marijuana patient in Delaware include:
- Terminal illness
- Decompensated cirrhosis
- Hepatitis C
- Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis/Lou Gehrig’s disease
- Agitation of Alzheimer’s disease
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
- Intractable epilepsy
- Autism with self-injurious or aggressive behavior
- Chronic debilitating migraines
- Severe or persistent muscle spasms, including those characteristic of multiple sclerosis
- A chronic or debilitating disease or medical condition that produces one or more of the following:
- Cachexia (wasting syndrome)
- Severe, debilitating pain that has not responded to prescribed medication in three months
- Intractable nausea
Pediatric patients 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
- Severe debilitating autism
- Terminal illness involving pain, anxiety, or depression that is related to the terminal illness
- A chronic or debilitating disease or medical condition where they have failed treatment involving one or more of the following symptoms:
- Cachexia (wasting syndrome)
- Intractable nausea
- Severe, painful, and persistent muscle spasms
For a complete list of qualifying conditions and guidelines, please refer to Delaware’s medical marijuana program guidelines.
How to get a medical marijuana card in Delaware
Patients may apply for a Delaware Medical Marijuana ID Card online if their physician is registered in the system. If not, they may bring a paper form to their physician for authorization.
Applications must include:
- Application fee of $50
- Proof of age
- Proof of residency
Cards are good for one year from date of issue. Patients may apply for a renewal 90 days prior to expiration.
The medical marijuana program in Delaware is run by the Office of Medical Marijuana under the Division of Public Health.
Does Delaware accept out-of-state medical cards?
Yes, visiting qualifying patients may purchase and possess medical marijuana if they provide:
- Copy of their registry identification card or its equivalent that was issued pursuant to the laws of the jurisdiction of the person’s residence.
- Proof of residency in the jurisdiction where the registry identification card or its equivalent was issued.
- Certification by the visiting qualifying patient’s physician that he or she has a debilitating qualifying condition.
When does my Delaware medical marijuana card expire?
Cards expire one year after the date of issue. To maintain an active Medical Marijuana ID card, a patient and/or caregiver must annually submit a renewal application, including a recertification from their physician.
Delaware marijuana growing laws
Delaware does not permit the home cultivation of marijuana.
Delaware public consumption laws
Marijuana may not be used in any public place. The public use or consumption of an ounce or less of marijuana will be an unclassified misdemeanor punishable by a fine of not more than $200 or imprisonment for not more than five days.
For more information, see Delaware House Bill No. 39.
Delaware cannabis DUI laws
Even in medical-use and adult-use states, it is illegal to drive while under the influence. Although Delaware is a medically legal state, it is illegal to drive while under the influence of cannabis.
In Delaware, a person is guilty of a DUI if they operate a vehicle under the influence of any drug, or have any amount of illicit or recreational drug in their system within four hours of operating a vehicle.
Qualified medical cannabis patients cannot use this as an affirmative legal defense, and any cannabis metabolite in a person’s body can be used to convict them of a DUI.
Anyone who is driving in Delaware has implied consent to a chemical test, and a refusal to submit to such a test shall revoke the driver’s license for at least one year. The officer may proceed with conducting the test even without the consent of the person.
- First offense: Imprisonment for no more than 12 months; $500-$1,500 fine; 12-month license suspension. Judge may suspend any period of imprisonment.
- Second offense (within 10 years): Imprisonment for 60 days to no more than 18 months; $750-$2,500 fine; 24-month license suspension. Court may suspend minimum sentence with the completion of Court of Common Pleas Driving Under the Influence Treatment Program, including a minimum of 30 days of community service.
- Third offense: Class G felony; imprisonment no less than one year and no more than two years; $5,000 fine. Court may suspend up to nine months of minimum sentence with the completion of both a drug and alcohol abstinence program and a drug and alcohol treatment program.
- Fourth offense: Class E felony; imprisonment for no less than two years and no more than seven years; fine of no more than $7,000. Court may suspend up to 18 months of minimum sentence with the completion of both a drug and alcohol abstinence program and a drug and alcohol treatment program.
- Fifth offense: Class E felony; imprisonment of no less than three years and no more than five years; $10,000 fine.
- Sixth offense: Class D felony; imprisonment of no less than four years and no more than eight years; $10,000 fine.
- Seventh offense: Class C felony; imprisonment for no less than five years and no more than 15 years; $15,000 fine.
For more information, please refer to Delaware Code Title 21, Chapter 41, Subchapter IX.
Delaware cannabis testing regulations
Delaware’s medical marijuana system is notoriously one of the nation’s least considered, and that includes its testing regulations.
State law forbids all use of pesticides in products grown and sold at “compassion centers,” as the state government refers to medical dispensaries. Compassion centers are also required by law to operate as non-profit organizations.
Marijuana must be tested for tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), tetrahydrocannabinolic acid (THCA), cannabidiol (CBD), cannabidiolic acid (CBDA), cannabigerol (CBG), and cannabinol (CBN).
It must also be tested for microbial contaminants, residual solvents, foreign matter such as hair and insects, and remaining solvents in the case of cannabis derivatives. There is no requirement to test for the presence of heavy metals.
Regulations also require the compassion center to include the name of the cannabis strain, cannabinoid profile, and quantity of the medical marijuana dispensed.
For more information, check out Delaware’s Medical Marijuana legal code.
Common questions about marijuana legalization in Delaware
Is recreational marijuana legal in Delaware?
No. Only medical marijuana is legal in Delaware. However, current legislation is under consideration to legalize it for adult use.
Can you get a medical marijuana card for anxiety in Delaware?
Delaware’s list of qualifying conditions does not include anxiety, except anxiety experienced in the face of terminal illness. However, there are provisions in the legislation that allow citizens to petition for the addition of new conditions.
Can you get a medical card with a felony in Delaware?
There are no restrictions in the legislation that prevent felons from obtaining a medical card. There are felony restrictions that apply to caregivers and employees of testing facilities and care centers.
Can you grow your own cannabis in Delaware?
Cultivating cannabis at home in Delaware is not sanctioned by law and can result in incarceration or a fine depending on the weight of plants.
Are vape pens legal in Delaware?
Medical marijuana inhalation devices are legal in Delaware. State licensed dispensaries offer vape cartridges.
Keep up with the latest news about legalization in Delaware
Stay current on Delaware’s fast-changing laws by bookmarking Leafly politics and signing up for our newsletter.