6 Things to Know About Delaware's Recreational Marijuana Bill

The Delaware Legislature reintroduced a bill to legalize recreational marijuana. The bill is refreshingly simple- coming in at a mere 45 pages - as compared to similar legislation introduced in Illinois, New Jersey and New York. It may be a bit ambitious to introduce the bill this late in the legislative session, which closes on June 30, 2019. However, it may indicative of an earnest effort that may take place in 2020.

The top six (6) things that you should know about Delaware’s recreational marijuana bill include:

  • Licenses will be allocated using a scoring system that takes into consideration a social responsibility plan, an environmental and sustainability plan, and a plan for a safe, healthy and economically beneficial working environment.

  • The number of available retail licenses is capped at 15. The state will accept retail store applications 10 months after the effective date of the Act, and will start issuing licenses 11 months after the effective date. After 3 years, the state may issue more than 15 licenses if there is sufficient market demand.

  • Licenses are also capped as follows:

    • Testing facility licenses - 5

    • Cultivation licenses - 50

    • Manufacturing licenses - 10

  • Local municipalities may prohibit commercial cannabis businesses. A protest hearing is scheduled if 10 people within 1 mile of the establishment file a protest. Marijuana may not be delivered or sold on Sundays, Easter, Thanksgiving, Christmas or other days as prescribed by rule.

  • The Act requires the State to perform a suitability analysis on owners of 10% or more of the outstanding stock. Licenses may be transferred with the State’s approval.

  • A 15% tax is charged on the retail recreational sales only.

Delaware Bill Broadens Access to Medical Marijuana

A newly introduce Delaware bill broadens access to medical marijuana by adults and persons under the age of 18. Senate Bill No. 24 would allow adult and underage patients to access medical marijuana for any medical condition or treatment that a doctor certifies is likely to provide a palliative or therapeutic benefit. The bill also removes the restriction that a person younger than 18 may only access medical marijuana oil if they suffer from a qualifying debilitating or terminal condition that is certified by a doctor who specializes in pediatric care.


Governor John Carney signed legislation for the cultivation of industrial hemp. Current federal law permits industrial hemp to be cultivated in conjunction with academic or agricultural research. The new law allows Delaware Department of Agriculture to adopt policies and regulations that will allow the immediate cultivation of industrial hemp beyond agricultural and academic research when federal restrictions are eliminated.   The law also includes hemp in the definition of grain.

Delaware's new law is similar to legislation or new laws in other states including Nevada and California among others.  Also, Rhode Island closed the comment period on proposed regulations this week for the industrial hemp cultivation.  However, Rhode Island's proposed regulations require the cultivation to occur in conjunction with academic or agricultural research.  Please see the link for a summary of Rhode Island's proposed regulations


Governor John Carney signed legislation on August 29 that provides a mandatory expungement to all eligible persons who were convicted of a single offense for the possession, use or consumption of cannabis that occurred prior to December 18, 2015.  

The California Senate passed an expungement bill on August 22nd that requires the state to proactively identify individuals who are eligible, and to effect the expungement if not challenged by the prosecution.  More details are provided in the following link.