Delaware’s medical cannabis program provides qualifying patients with a medical registry card they can use to purchase legal marijuana in a state-licensed compassion center. Delaware lawmakers passed the Delaware Medical Marijuana Act (DMMA) in 2011, but it took a few years for dispensaries to open. The Delaware Department of Health and Social Services (DHSS) tasked the Office of Medical Marijuana (OMM) with registering qualifying patients. Here’s how you can apply for a medical marijuana card in Delaware.
Benefits of a Medical Marijuana Card in Delaware
Recreational cannabis use is still illegal in Delaware. Up until recently, marijuana use or possession was a misdemeanor and carried a fine with possible jail time. In 2015, the state decriminalized the possession and private use of up to an ounce of cannabis. At the moment, the only legal way to obtain marijuana in Delaware is by applying for a medical cannabis card. Obtaining a card allows you to purchase your medicinal products without taxes or criminal penalties. A medical card also allows you to buy cannabis in states that have reciprocity laws.
The OMM provides qualifying patients and caregivers with a state-licensed ID card to participate in the medical registry program. Before you can apply for a card, you must receive a physician’s certification to prove that you have one or more of the following qualifying conditions:
- Terminal Illness
- Decompensated Cirrhosis
- Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis
- Agitation of Alzheimer’s Disease
- Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
- Autism with aggressive behavior
- Chronic Debilitating Migraine
- A chronic or debilitating disease or medical condition or its treatment that produces one or more of the following:
- Severe debilitating pain that has not responded to previously prescribed medication or surgical measure for more than three months
- Intractable Nausea
- Severe and persistent muscle spasms
Medical Card Application Process in Delaware
If you’re ready to start your medical card application process, you must first have a licensed and registered Medical Doctor (MD) or Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine (DO) complete the Physician Certification Form, which is part of the patient application packet. Ensure that your physician is registered in the online application program. If they are not, you can have them complete and sign a paper application.
Patients must be at least 18 years old to apply for a medical card. Qualifying patients under 18 must have a parent or legal guardian complete the form for them and act as a caregiver. The application requires patients to provide a copy of their Delaware driver’s license or a state-issued ID. Once you complete the application packet, you can submit your application online or mail it to the department. Applications can be mailed to:
Delaware Division of Public Health
Medical Marijuana Program
417 Federal St., Suite 140
Dover, DE 19901
Applications can take up to 45 days to be approved by the Department. Once received, medical cards are valid for one year and must be renewed annually.
Applicants must pay $125 for the medical card every year. If your card is lost or you need to change information on it, you can purchase a replacement card for $20. Low-income patients may qualify for a fee waiver. Low-income individuals can complete a Low Income Charge Request form and submit a copy of their taxes and W-2 forms to determine eligibility.
Buying and Growing Medical Marijuana
Patients and caregivers with a medical cannabis card can purchase cannabis from one of four licensed dispensaries: Columbia Care in Smyrna, First State Compassion Center in Wilmington, First State Compassion Center in Lewes, or Compassionate Care Research Institute in Newark. The OMM will assign patients with a dispensary. Patients can purchase up to three ounces (85 grams) of processed cannabis every 14 days.
Patients and caregivers can possess up to six ounces at one time. Caregivers can possess up to six ounces for each patient they assist. Caregivers can assist up to five patients. Currently, home cultivation is prohibited in Delaware.
Caregivers can help patients in obtaining medical cannabis as long as they apply for a medical card for each patient. They must also apply for a Designated Caregiver card for themselves. Caregivers may assist no more than five patients, must reside in Delaware, and must undergo a $65 state and federal background check, which is valid for three years. Minors can have their parent or legal guardian act as a caregiver as long as the parent obtains a Designated Caregiver card.
Delaware’s medical marijuana program is only available for qualifying residents of the state. Out-of-state patients cannot purchase medical cannabis in Delaware, even if they have a valid medical marijuana license from their home state.
Delaware’s medical cannabis program may be small compared to other markets in the nation, but so far, the state has tried to keep up with patient demand. Lawmakers will continue to expand the medical program, while fighting to make recreational cannabis a reality in the state. If you’re interested in learning more about medical cannabis, enroll in CTU’s training program today.