Delaware Passes Medical Marijuana Law!

May 13, 2011 , , , , , , , , ,

Today, Gov. Jack Markell signed SB 17 into law, making it legal for Delaware residents with certain serious medical conditions to use medical marijuana with a doctor’s recommendation. The bill had bipartisan sponsors and support in the legislature. This makes Delaware the 16th state, along with the District of Columbia, to pass an effective medical marijuana law.

The law goes into effect on July 1 and will permit people diagnosed with cancer, HIV/AIDS, multiple sclerosis, decompensated cirrhosis, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), agitation of Alzheimer’s disease, PTSD, intractable nausea, severe seizures, severe and persistent muscle spasms, wasting syndrome, and severe debilitating pain that has not responded to other treatments or for which other treatments produced serious side effects to possess up to six ounces of marijuana without fear of arrest. Qualified patients will not be able to cultivate their own medicine, but they will be able to obtain medical marijuana from state-licensed compassion centers regulated by the Delaware Department of Health and Social Services, which will also issue medical marijuana ID cards to patients who receive a recommendation from their doctor. Public use of marijuana and driving under the influence are prohibited.

“There are so many people in Delaware who are suffering unimaginable pain that this will help, and we want to be able to do what we can to provide much-needed relief for those citizens,” said Senate Majority Whip Margaret Rose Henry, D-Wilmington East, who sponsored the legislation. “I am very grateful that so many of my colleagues were able to look past the myths surrounding marijuana and into the eyes and hearts of those who were crying out for our help. Needless to say, I am profoundly grateful to Gov. Markell for his support of this important legislation.”

“Today is an amazing victory for seriously ill Delaware patients, who have been waiting a very long time for the chance to use the medicine they need without fear,” said Noah Mamber, legislative analyst for the Marijuana Policy Project, who lobbied and mobilized patients, professionals, and grassroots activists in support of the bill. “SB17 is the most comprehensive, tightly-written medical marijuana bill in the country, and with this vote, the Delaware Legislature proved that compassion is not a red or a blue issue. It’s a human issue.”

Chris McNeely, a Dagsboro National Guard veteran and chronic pain patient with severe wasting syndrome, said, “Until this law was passed, I was afraid to use medical marijuana, even though it helped me in the past, because if I was arrested and put in jail, they could not properly care for me, and I could actually die. I am so happy I will be able to get legal relief soon.”

With this victory, we are well on our way to accomplishing MPP’s goal of 27 medical marijuana states by 2014. Keep up the good work, everybody!

27 responses to “Delaware Passes Medical Marijuana Law!”

  1. This is good and bad. Good for medical cannabis, bad for the Patients. You have to let the people grow their own meds. We won’t stand for anything less.

  2. “Qualified patients will not be able to cultivate their own medicine…” …that kinda kills it right there….

  3. @ Dan: Hmmmm, patients are protected from arrest, and have a source for safe access?

    There are a wide variety of qualifying conditions, including PTSD, so we can treat some more of our returning vets with some compassion?

    Yep, sounds like victory to me!!!

    GYO is great, and every patient deserves it, but there is a big difference between what patients deserve and what they can realistically get in this political climate. Every step is important.

  4. @Dan, I’m curious where you found the original version of the bill to be able to make the statement that the sponsors started too low. I’m also curious why you think starting with extremely high demands would have resulted in a better law being passed, instead of the whole thing being turned down.

    What I’m REALLY curious about is why you think it’s OK for patients to keep getting arrested and jailed while we all wait for the magical day when we can get whatever law we want past the drug warriors.

  5. After some time with this program (but without drastic rises in pathology as feared by the fanatics) authorities and the public will be ready for the next step; that is the advantage of incrementalism as I see it.

  6. listen, I agree that each step is a step in the right direction, I hear you, YAY !! Now some lucky people are going to get MMJ and save lives…I get it….But we can’t give up “The Right To Grow “. PERIOD. Anything less is 3 steps back, it’s just one more thing that we will have to fight for down the road or Grow at home and wait to get busted….Don’t Settle !

  7. My question is why do you think that GYO is some mindset for a magical day ? It seems to me that GYO is a starting point and NOT to be given up.

  8. I was so proud to be a part of this victory, pushing a great bill, that will allow medical marijuana patients to start using their medicine legally on July 1 (with the help of the affirmative defense). We had huge wins in the Senate (18-3, 17-4), and in the House, even though we weren’t sure we had the 3/5 votes that we needed up until the roll call (27-14). It was really nerve-wracking for us and all the patients in the room.

    As for Grow Your Own, we started in 2009 with a bill that included that provision, and I fully supported passing it. However, in working with the legislature, including our incredibly supportive sponsors, it was impressed upon us that Grow Your Own simply wouldn’t fly in a small East Coast state where legislators wanted to keep track of every plant and bud that was going to go to patients. So, because we wanted patients to have protections in Delaware, as soon as possible, and because we fully believe in the great, comprehensive compassion center system that we included in the bill that will be set up over the next year and half, we made the compromise, and removed Grow Your Own.

    Now, medical marijuana patients will be very similar to patients that have to go to CVS for their asthma medication or prescription opiates, except that compassion centers will be an alternative system. But the concept is the same, as long as patients are able to go somewhere and get their medicine legally under state law, it should be something we are all proud of.

  9. In a perfect world, it is the starting point for any medical cannabis bill.

    But we live in a world where brainwashed timid politicians hear “home cultivation” and see gardens in the burbs on every block, impossible to manage or control. They see it being diverted to the illegal market and taking over the schools, or some such nonsense. And then they vote NO.

    Don’t believe me? Look at the legislative voting records for every medical marijuana bill in the past four or five years. Look at the public polling in those states. GYO doesn’t fly with most of the public, let alone lawmakers worried about re-election.

  10. Seems to me like an education program is in order for GYO at the very least….and congratulations on getting this passed, is IS a win for MMJ

  11. Not to mention WHO is going to be growing the Cannabis, how do you even trust them ? Big Tobacco , Not for me . Big Pharma, again no thank you. Who do you trust with your Cannabis?

  12. ‘Tis bullsheet my friends, no grow no go! And the list of illnesses is way too slim, it doesn’t even include depression!?! And who the f’k is growing the pot? Is it tested as disease-sterile and free of chemicals??

  13. Being that MPP is now more than ever lobbying for “no grow your own” laws, it makes you wonder where they get their funding? I though the point was to be able to get away from Big Pharma. The large dispensary groups that help to support this organization seem to be the most important thing. Nothing better then crappy chemical laden meds from a large scale producer at over inflated prices. Patient=loss. Large dispensary owners=Win. Way to go MPP! Keep up the good work.

    P.S. If you live in one of the States where MPP is helping to make these laws you can sue the State, and change the law. It would not be very hard to cirumvent the screwing that they are giving to the patients. Once the laws are implemented they can be used to your advantage. If your local diespensary does not offer the meds that work best for you, grown the way that works best for you, then the dispensary is not following the law. See how that works MPP? These laws are very, very weak, and they need to be challenged in every State that has them.

    I think MPP stands for Mass Production Pot.

  14. Well, this IS a small step forward. A VERY small step, as Delaware is a VERY small state. Every step forward is good, and we “shouldn’t look a gift horse in the mouth”, but GYO is a legit issue. Growing your own is a pain in the ass, and that should have been good enough for those who were against allowing a GYO option in the bill.

    The list of illnesses is also way too short. Insomnia, ADHD, depression, treatment of various physical pain should also be included as treatable ailments. Every MMJ bill I’ve seen excludes the illnesses that affect me. And BTW, I don’t like the idea of being on some government list of MMJ patients, because at the federal level, it’s still illegal and if our president gets a wild hair up his ass, it could backfire and we’d all be in jail, or at least in the crosshairs of the government.

    Finally, what is the cost to the patient? Most if not all dispensaries charge the same as black market prices. And the cost of cannabis is WAY TOO HIGH. An ounce of shwag should cost no more than $5.00. An ounce of White Widow shouldn’t cost more than $10.00 . And it would be that low if we were allowed to grow our own!

  15. Continue to push for grow you own. It’s the patient’s right to get exactly what they need for their condition.

  16. Let’s get on the same page. I see the piont of growing but , the fact that it’s legal for the people that can benefit from it is the fight I thought. I’m sure if growing was that big of a deal then more peopole would be donating to MPP I would think. If you think of leagallizing anything , look at alochol it’s leagal to buy but not make

  17. It has been legal to make wine at home since the end of prohibition, and legal to make beer since 1978, but it’s still illegal to distill spirits for beverage purposes without going through so much fuss and bother that the government admits flat out that it’s “impractical.”

  18. As Noah mentioned, the Delaware bill started with home cultivation. It was removed after it became clear that it could not pass with that provision in. There wasn’t a choice between a bill with home cultivation and one with dispensaries, too: A bill with home cultivation would not have passed. That is unfortunately what we’ve seen in a number of states, despite our best attempts. Remember, only seven state legislatures have enacted medical marijuana laws.

    A bill MPP has been lobbying for that had home cultivation and dispensing was narrowly voted down in Illinois in Nov. and early Jan. Now, there is a more conservative legislature in place. The sponsor has removed home cultivation to gain additional support (including the House Republican leader) and to give it a better chance of passing. But even without home cultivation now, it is far from a sure thing (the bill came a few votes shy again a couple weeks ago, though it can be called for another vote).

    A perfect bill that can never get passed is just a piece of paper. It protects no one if it doesn’t become law. This Delaware bill was one that could and did become an actual law that will protect the seriously ill and provide safe access. Numerous patients worked hard to get it passed, with one even coming to the state house the day after a chemo treatment, because they know it will make their lives better.

    Laws can be and are amended down the road, after lawmakers become more comfortable with them and if they see that more protections are needed. We’ve seen that in Vermont, Rhode Island, and Maryland.

    Don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good. You will end up with nothing at all.

  19. Interesting how the politicians can make cannabis sales non- profit without even thinking and still let the street corner pharma pusher make as much profit as they can.
    This is a start but a very small one.

  20. Does anybody know if Gary Johnson is still running for president? I watch the news shows religiously and his name NEVER comes up as a republican candidate. They seem to be focused on Romney, Pawlenty, Daniels and Gingrich. Whenever Ron Paul is mentioned, he is marginalized.

  21. Hey, are you all aware the the Supreme Court of the US just took away the 4th amendment?

    And this is what the editor says to people who think we should we should vote for Ron paul:

    Editor’s note: Ron Paul will never even win the GOP nomination. Period. Ron Paul will never be elected president. Period. Give up on this delusion and don’t waste your breath, time and money on something that will NEVER happen.

    You’re totally incorrect that in 40 years of reform efforts ‘has gotten no where’. That is an idiotic thing to proclaim when people are buying millions in ‘medical’ cannabis in retail, main street environment daily, over 100 million people live in the now 16 states with medical cannabis laws and over 120 million Americans live in states and cities where cannabis has been decriminalized.

    Does this single SCOTUS decision suck beyond belief? Yes. Does that mean that no progress has ever been made to reform cannabis laws? Self evidently the clear answer is no–tons of reforms have occurred since citizens started to organize and ‘petition’ their government on this grievance.]


  22. It looks like some of you may have read my post about NORML and responded in kind on their website forum. THANK YOU!

  23. DE. will hand out minimal permits to compassion center, and they WILL be owned by the DuPont family. It is not a victory, understand the roll DuPont had in making it illegal in the first place. DuPont and Government are one in the same (best friends) DE has just opened the door to BIG brother

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