Delaware Legislature Moves 4 Marijuana Bills

The Delaware Legislature has moved four (4) marijuana bills during the last weeks of the 2019 legislative session. The hope of legalizing adult use marijuana in Delaware ahead of the June 30th closing date has faded. However, the state legislature has made progress on bills that expand the medical marijuana program and decriminalizes the possession, consumption, and use of marijuana by juveniles.

Details on the four marijuana bills are provided below.

  • SB 170 - CBD-Rich Card The bill was introduced on June 19, 2019, and creates a new medical marijuana card that allows patients suffering from anxiety to obtain products containing elevated levels of CBD or CBD and THC. The patient’s doctor must provide a written certification recommending medical marijuana for the anxiety or any other condition approved by the state.

  • Senate Substitute 1 for SB 24 - Compassionate Use Card The bill broadens access to medical marijuana by allowing a patient or a designated caregiver for an adult or pediatric patient to obtain a compassionate use card for a severe and debilitating condition after presenting a signed statement from a physician indicating that there is no other effective treatment available.

  • HB 243 -The Delaware Patient Right to Grow Act- The bill was introduced on June 20, 2019, and permits the home cultivation of marijuana for personal use. Under the legislation, patients may grow and possess up to six flowering plants and six non-flowering plants. The patient or caregiver must tag the plants and report seed-to-sale information to the state on a monthly basis. Landlords and Homeowner Associations may prohibit the cultivation of marijuana authorized under the Act.

  • SB 45 - Civil Penalties for Juvenile Use of Marijuana The bill decriminalizes the possession, use or consumption of marijuana by juveniles. The bill makes it a civil violation for juveniles to possess, use or consume marijuana.

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.