The 7th in a series of articles documenting the medical marijuana programs in each state continues with a look at Delaware. These articles will be sent to every Utah lawmaker in a continued effort to educate about the benefits of cannabis by UtahCARE - Cannabis Awareness, Respect and Education, during the upcoming 2014 session, in campaign called "educate in order to medicate".
Senate Bill 17 was signed into law by Governor Jack Markell (D) on May 13, 2011 following approval by Delaware the House (27-14) and the Senate (17-4) and became effective July 1, 2011, allowing Delaware to be the 16th state to legalize medical marijuana.
Under this law, a patient is only protected from arrest if his or her physician certifies, in writing, that the patient has a specified debilitating medical condition and that the patient would receive therapeutic benefit from medical marijuana.
The patient must send a copy of the written certification to the state Department of Health and Social Services, and the Department will issue an ID card after verifying the information. As long as the patient is in compliance with the law, there will be no arrest.
The law does not allow patients or caregivers to grow marijuana at home, but it does allow for the state-regulated, non-profit distribution of medical marijuana by compassion centers.
Delaware approved the following conditions treatment with medicinal cannabis: cancer, HIV/AIDS, decompensated cirrhosis, ALS, Alzheimer's disease, post-traumatic stress disorder; or a medical condition that produces wasting syndrome, severe debilitating pain that has not responded to other treatments for more than three months or for which other treatments produced serious side effects, severe nausea, seizures, or severe and persistent muscle spasms.
Patients 18 and older with certain debilitating conditions may possess up to six ounces of marijuana with a doctor's written recommendation.
A registered compassion center may not dispense more than 3 ounces of marijuana to a registered qualifying patient in any fourteen-day period, and a patient may register with only one compassion center.
Home cultivation is not allowed.
Delaware Senate Bill 17 contains a provision that allows for an affirmative defense for individuals,
"in possession of no more than six ounces of usable marijuana."
On February 12, 2012, Governor Markell released the following statement:
"I am very disappointed by the change in policy at the federal department of justice, as it requires us to stop implementation of the compassion centers. To do otherwise would put our state employees in legal jeopardy and I will not do that.
Unfortunately, this shift in the federal position will stand in the way of people in pain receiving help. Our law sought to provide that in a manner that was both highly regulated and safe."
On August 15, 2013, Governor Markell announced in a letter to Delaware lawmakers his intention to relaunch the state's medical marijuana program, despite his previous decision to stop implementation.
Markell wrote that the Department of Health and Social Services "will proceed to issue a request for proposal for a pilot compassion center to open in Delaware next year" and that the "legal environment in Washington and the policy landscape across the country on this issue both continue to evolve...We will continue to monitor developments as we move forward with our program in the interest of Delaware patients".
By sending articles such as this to Utah lawmakers in regular e-mail blasts, grassroots cannabis advocates such as UtahCARE will continue to “educate in order to medicate” and keep the momentum to legalize cannabis in Utah moving forward.
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