Consequences of Getting a Medical Card in Delaware

  1. Delaware Cannabis
  2. Delaware Medical Marijuana Card
  3. Consequences of Having a MMJ Card in Delaware

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Benefits of Having a Medical Marijuana Card in Delaware

There are multiple benefits to having a Delaware medical marijuana card. Some of these benefits are discussed below:

Legal Protection

A Delaware medical marijuana card suffices as legal protection when stopped by law enforcement for possessing marijuana within the acceptable limits indicated in the Delaware Medical Marijuana Act (DMMA). Per Section 4903A of the DMMA, a registered qualifying patient or medical marijuana cardholder may not be subject to arrest, prosecution, or denial of any privilege for the medical use of marijuana, provided the cardholder possesses no more than the permitted limits.

To forestall unnecessary law enforcement queries for marijuana possession, medical marijuana cardholders are advised to have their cards with them when carrying marijuana. Although not required, carrying another identification, such as a Delaware driver's license, may assist law enforcement in verifying the MMJ cardholder's identity.

Lower Prices

Due to the 15% sales tax imposed on recreational cannabis in Delaware, marijuana products are more expensive for non-medical marijuana cardholders. However, if you have a Delaware medical marijuana card, you make substantial savings as you are exempted from paying the sales tax on medical marijuana and medical marijuana products.

Higher Purchase and/or Possession Limits

One of the key benefits of possessing a Delaware medical marijuana card is access to a higher purchase and possession limit for marijuana. With a Delaware medical marijuana card, you can purchase up to 3 ounces of marijuana every fortnight and possess up to 6 ounces of usable marijuana. Persons without the card are not allowed more than 1 ounce of marijuana.

Access for Minors

Having a Delaware medical marijuana card brings a unique advantage in making marijuana access possible for minors, primarily through caregiver provisions outlined in the state's medical marijuana program. Also, individuals who are 18 or older are eligible to obtain a Delaware medical marijuana card by themselves without needing a caregiver. Persons who do not have a Delaware medical marijuana card must wait till they are 21 or older to access marijuana legally in the state. There are no provisions for caregivers for non-medical marijuana cardholders.


Due to medical marijuana reciprocity provisions under some state’s medical marijuana programs, out-of-state patients are allowed to purchase or possess medical marijuana. Therefore, under the medical marijuana reciprocity provisions in Maine, Rhode Island, District of Columbia, Arkansas, Nevada, Oklahoma, Utah, and Hawaii, Delaware medical marijuana cardholders may be able to purchase medical marijuana.

Employment Protections

One of the drawbacks of having a medical marijuana card is the discrimination that may be faced due to one's status as a marijuana user. Employers often fear that employees will show up to work under the influence of drugs. However, under Section 4905A of the Delaware Medical Marijuana Act, unless failure to do so may cause an employer to lose financial or licensing-related benefits under federal law or regulations, an employer may not discriminate against a medical marijuana cardholder in hiring termination, or an employment condition or term, or otherwise penalize the cardholder, if the discrimination is based on either of the following:

  • The individual’s status as a Delaware medical marijuana cardholder
  • The individual's positive drug test for marijuana, metabolites, or components, unless the medical marijuana cardholder used, possessed, or was impaired due to marijuana use in the workplace premises or during employment hours

To corroborate the state's position on the employment protection provision for Delaware medical marijuana cardholders, the Superior Court of Delaware issued a decision in December 2018 in the Chance v. Kraft Heinz Foods Co. case, ruling that the federal Controlled Substances Act of 1970, which prohibits marijuana use, does not preempt the state's Medical Marijuana Act.

Note that Delaware's employment protection provision for medical marijuana cardholders does not restrict employers from enforcing drug-free policies for workplaces.

Downsides of Getting a Medical Marijuana Card in Delaware

Possessing a Delaware medical marijuana card comes with certain downsides. These include firearm prohibition, renewal costs, and driving restrictions.

Firearm Prohibition

While Delaware medical marijuana law does not specifically restrict MMJ cardholders from possessing firearms, owning a gun remains illegal under federal law if you are a marijuana user. According to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF), medical marijuana users are prohibited from purchasing firearms from federal firearm licensees. The ATF's stance is based on the federal classification of marijuana as an illegal substance with no accepted medicinal value. Hence, you risk federal prosecution if you possess a gun and a Delaware medical marijuana card.

Driving Restrictions

Possessing a medical marijuana card places serious restrictions on obtaining a commercial driver's license in Delaware. Note that state laws have no impact on requirements for maintaining or obtaining a CDL. Also, state laws do not govern testing regulations for CDL licenses. Since marijuana is illegal federally, verified Delaware medical marijuana cardholders will be denied commercial driver's licenses. Commercial driver licenses who test positive for marijuana use risk losing their jobs even if they have Delaware medical marijuana cards.

Annual Renewal

Maintaining a Delaware medical marijuana card can be challenging as it requires a yearly renewal, which may be costly for indigent persons. Before submitting a renewal application for a medical marijuana card, you must visit a physician to obtain a recertification, as the previous certification used becomes invalid. The recertification appointment, which may be held via a scheduled telehealth meeting, may cost you as much as $200 in physician consultation fees.

Besides the consultation fee, it costs $50 to renew your medical marijuana card. This fee, payable to the Delaware Division of Public Health, may be discounted to $25 if your gross household income is less or equal to 138% of the federal poverty level.

Federal Prohibitions

While medical marijuana has been legalized in several states, including Delaware, there are still federal restrictions impacting medical marijuana cardholders. Some of these restrictions include getting employment with federal agencies or using marijuana on federal property.

Due to the federal ban on the use of marijuana, including medical marijuana, individuals who hold Delaware medical marijuana cards and indicate their positive marijuana status cannot obtain federal employment. Federal agencies are prohibited from hiring or retaining employees who use marijuana, regardless of their state's laws.

Federal employees who live in Delaware who have the state’s medical marijuana card are likely to be terminated from their jobs if their marijuana statuses become known or if they fail drug tests. Although there have been some legal challenges to the federal prohibition of marijuana use by federal employees, these challenges have been unsuccessful.

Also, individuals living in federally subsidized housing in Delaware cannot cultivate marijuana at home, regardless of whether they have a medical marijuana card. While marijuana cultivation has yet to be approved for medical marijuana cardholders in Delaware, any change in the state's stance on the matter will not reverse the federal position on marijuana cultivation unless marijuana becomes scheduled and no longer considered a banned substance. Moreover, federally assisted housing is administered by the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). The agency operates under federal law and prohibits marijuana cultivation or use in federally assisted housing.

The U.S. HUD backs up its position on the matter in a 2021 response letter to Representative Eleanor Holmes-Norton reiterating that it prohibits the admission of users of marijuana to HUD-assisted housing, including those who use medical marijuana in states where medical marijuana has been legalized.

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