Delaware Governor Jack Markell has signed into law a medical marijuana bill, which will go into effect July 1, that will allow for the use of medical grade marijuana by chronically ill patients with the approval and supervision of their physician.
With the passage of Senate Bill 17, Delaware becomes the 16th medical marijuana state in the United States.
Senate Bill 17 finds: "That marijuana’s recorded use as a medicine goes back nearly 5,000 years. Modern medical research has confirmed the beneficial uses for marijuana in treating or alleviating the pain, nausea, and other symptoms associated with a variety of debilitating medical conditions, including cancer, multiple sclerosis, PTSD, Alzheimer's disease, nausea, seizures, muscle spasms, wasting syndrome, and HIV/AIDS, as found by the National Academy of Sciences' Institute of Medicine in March 1999."
"The Delaware law is based on the Marijuana Policy Project’s model medical marijuana legislation and creates an exception to a state’s criminal laws to permit the doctor-recommended medical use of marijuana by patients with serious medical conditions," according to the bill text.
A patient would only be protected from arrest of controlled substance laws 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.
Patients would be allowed to possess up to 6 ounces for their medical use. Six ounces is less than the federal government has determined is a one-month supply for patients in the Compassionate Investigational New Drug Program.
The legislation allows them to designate a caregiver who would also receive an ID card. Each caregiver may assist no more than five qualifying patients.
Senate Bill 17 allows for "state-regulated, non-profit distribution of medical marijuana by the end of 2012 with one distribution center located in each of three counties. All dispensaries would be subject to random inspection and all of their staff would have to register with the Department of Health."
"The Bill maintains commonsense restrictions on the medical use of marijuana, including prohibitions on public use of marijuana and driving under the influence of marijuana. Employers are not required to allow patients to be impaired at work or to allow the possession of marijuana at a workplace. Insurance providers would not have to cover medical marijuana."
US Drug Enforcement Administration
Several buds of marijuana
Under the new state law qualified patients will not be able to cultivate their own medicine.
The Marijuana Policy Project (MPP) said: "Delaware is a major victory, but we’re (MPP) still far from the finish line. Right now, we’re on track for enacting medical marijuana laws in 27 states by November 2014, which is why we need help now more than ever."
Senate Majority Whip Margaret Rose Henry, D-Wilmington East, who sponsored the legislation, said “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. 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.”