Medical cannabis use, including its licensed cultivation, was legalized in Kent County by the State of Delaware Medical Marijuana Act effective July 1, 2011. Adult-use cannabis by individuals aged 21 and older, and licensed commercial cannabis cultivation, was legalized by House Bill 1 (H.B. 1) and House Bill 2 (H.B. 2) which Governor John Carney allowed to be enacted in April 2023 without his signature. H.B. 2 is now called the Delaware Marijuana Control Act.
The Delaware Medical Marijuana Code regulates all things in relation to medical cannabis. Its implementation is within the purview of the Delaware Department of Health and Social Services (DHSS) Division of Public Health through its Office of Medical Marijuana’s (OMM) Medical Marijuana Program.
The Delaware Marijuana Control Act puts everything related to adult-use cannabis under the Delaware Division of Alcohol and Tobacco Enforcement (ATE). The Act also states that a Marijuana Commissioner shall have the authority to grant adult-use marijuana business licenses, such as cultivation facility licenses, and set regulations including those for security.
All licensing applications will have a non-refundable fee of $5,000, which may be increased yearly. The consumption of adult-use cannabis and cannabis products is prohibited on the premises of licensed adult-use cannabis facilities. Random samples of every batch of adult-use cannabis in any facility must pass the tests of a licensed marijuana testing laboratory. A tracking and inventory system must be established.
§1351 of the Delaware Marijuana Control Act states that counties and municipalities may enact an ordinance to ban or regulate the number, location, and manner of operations of adult-use marijuana businesses in their territory.
An adult-use cannabis cultivation facility license authorizes the holder to grow cannabis indoors or outdoors. Biennial licensing fees depend on the size of the cannabis canopy allowed. Unless increased by the Commissioner, the maximum cannabis canopy is 12,500 square feet for an indoor cultivation facility and 7.5 acres for an outdoor cultivation facility.
The OMM is the authority that issues the medical cannabis compassion center license required for the cultivation, manufacturing, retail selling, and delivery of medical cannabis by any company in Kent County, with each activity covered by common and individual regulations. For instance, medical cannabis cultivation by licensed compassion centers is only allowed indoors like all medical cannabis activities. Specific to medical cannabis cultivation is the prohibition of the use of pesticides.
Licensed medical cannabis compassion centers are required to be non-profit organizations. The two-year license involves an application fee of $5,000 and a certification fee of $40,000. The license must be renewed not later than 30 days before expiration.
Counties and municipalities may not ban licensed medical cannabis compassion centers within their territories. They may only designate specific zones for the location of such centers. All licensed medical cannabis compassion centers must be located at the address they registered and must be more than 500 feet away from any school that existed prior to their establishment.
All licensed medical cannabis compassion center facilities are required to be fully enclosed structures, locked, and protected around the clock by a security system equipped with alarms and recorded video surveillance. These must be connected to the DHSS and must automatically alert local law enforcement authorities upon any intrusion or emergency. Regular footage must be retained for a minimum of 90 days but footage with significant information must be retained for 36 months. There must be a monthly check on the entire security system. The facility may be inspected by the OMM unannounced.
Licensed medical cannabis compassion centers are mandated to have an inventory system updated daily and linked to the online inventory system of the OMM. Each center is only allowed to have, at any time, a maximum of 1,000 pounds of medical cannabis, excluding additives. Samples of plants and products taken at random from each batch must be sent for testing to an OMM-accredited laboratory and pass OMM standards.
Each licensed medical cannabis compassion center must log all medical cannabis wastes in the online inventory and dispose of these properly by making them unusable through grinding and mixing at a 50-50 ratio with other materials like soil.
The manufacturing of cannabis products for medical and adult use by licensed manufacturers was legalized in Kent County by the Medical Marijuana Act of the State of Delaware, its amendments by H.B. 1, and the Delaware Marijuana Control Act. All common regulations covering licensed medical cannabis compassion centers and licensed medical businesses, respectively, as previously discussed are applicable.
An adult-use cannabis product manufacturing facility license issued by the Marijuana Commissioner comes with a biennial licensing fee of $10,000. Adult-use cannabis product manufacturing licensees must also comply with the manufacturing and packaging regulations of the amended Medical Marijuana Act, the Delaware Cottage Food Regulations, and the Delaware Food Code Regulations%20Permit%20Suspension%20without%20Hearing,establishment%20without%20a%20prior%20hearing.). Edible adult-use cannabis products must be labeled with their complete ingredient list. Liquid edible adult-use cannabis products must contain a maximum of 10 milligrams of active tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) in each serving, with a maximum of 500 milligrams of active THC in a single multi-serving package. The child-resistant cap of the liquid product must serve as its measuring device for one serving.
Delaware Medical Marijuana Code 22.214.171.124.1 prohibits the use of petroleum hydrocarbon and alkane extraction for medical cannabis. Licensed medical cannabis compassion centers cannot use butane, hexane, pentane, and propane in manufacturing medical cannabis products.
A separate authorization from the DHSS is required for a licensed medical cannabis compassion center to legally manufacture and sell edible medical cannabis products.
Only food products that do not require time or temperature control for safety (non-TCS) may be infused with medical cannabis. Examples of allowed non-TCS edible medical cannabis products are hard candy, chewable sweets, fudge, chocolate, cookies, brownies, and muffins. Meat, fruit, or cream fillings are not allowed.
Edible medical cannabis products are not allowed to have more than 25 milligrams of cannabidiol (CBD) or 10 milligrams of THC Delta 9 per serving, with each package containing not more than five servings. Any edible medical cannabis product that contains THC must be embossed with those letters.
All types of medical cannabis and medical cannabis products must be packaged in four-millimeters-thick plastic that is opaque, plain, heat-sealed, child-resistant, and tamper-proof. Packages that contain several doses or servings must be resealable. All packages must be labeled using a font that does not appeal to minors and contains all the information and warnings required by the OMM.
The retail selling of medical and adult-use cannabis and cannabis products by licensed medical cannabis compassion centers and licensed retailers only to medical cannabis cardholders and individuals aged 21 and older in Kent County was legalized by the State of Delaware’s Medical Marijuana Act and its amendments through H.B. 1, and the Delaware Marijuana Control Act. Existing licensed medical cannabis compassion centers may also apply for an adult-use marijuana retail store license. All regulations common to licensed medical cannabis compassion centers and common to adult-use cannabis businesses as discussed earlier apply.
An adult-use marijuana retail store license issued by the Marijuana Commissioner also requires a biennial licensing fee of $10,000. The licensed marijuana retail store must verify the age of the purchaser through a valid government-issued photo ID. At every transaction, the licensed adult-use cannabis retailer may sell to a qualified person a maximum of any of the following, equivalent to the legal personal use limit:
one ounce of dried cannabis leaves or flowers
12 grams of cannabis concentrate
750 milligrams of THC Delta 9 contained in cannabis products
There are, however, no limits on the sales per transaction of adult-use cannabis topical products such as ointments, balms, lotions, and non-transdermal items. The licensed adult-use cannabis retailer is also allowed to sell cannabis accessories and non-consumable products related to cannabis. Prohibited for sale are edible products not containing cannabis, and anything containing nicotine or alcohol.
It is the responsibility of the licensed medical cannabis compassion center to verify the medical cannabis card presented by the purchaser on the OMM online registry. Licensed medical cannabis compassion centers are allowed to sell all forms of medical cannabis and medical cannabis products, including non-TCS edible medical cannabis products. They may also sell accessories needed to administer medical cannabis and educational materials on medical cannabis.
There are, however, limits to what a licensed medical cannabis compassion center is allowed to sell to each patient. Adult patients who are medical cannabis cardholders may only be sold three ounces of medical cannabis, excluding additives, every 14 days. Pediatric patients below 18 years old who are medical cannabis cardholders may only be sold pediatric medical marijuana oil. The Delaware Medical Marijuana Code defines this as the following:
Cannabidiol oil or tetrahydrocannabinol acid (THC-A) oil with a minimum content of 15% CBD and a maximum content of 7% THC
Cannabis resin dilution with a minimum content of 50 mg. CBD per milliliter and a maximum content of 7% THC
Upon each purchase, the licensed medical cannabis compassion center must add to the medical cannabis item’s label the patient’s name, registry number, and the date of the sale. The licensed medical cannabis compassion center must also provide the medical cannabis cardholder with the following:
The printed OMM FAQ on the rights and limitations of medical cannabis use in the State of Delaware
Storage instructions for the medical cannabis items purchased
Potential medical cannabis side effects
How to smoke medical cannabis safely
Various options for medical cannabis consumption
Only the delivery of medical cannabis and medical cannabis products by licensed medical cannabis compassion centers exclusively to medical cannabis cardholders in Kent County is legal according to the Medical Marijuana Act of the State of Delaware as amended by H.B. 1, and the Delaware Marijuana Control Act. Adult-use cannabis and cannabis products must be purchased in person by persons aged 21 and older at licensed adult-use cannabis retail stores.
Delaware Division of Public Health
Medical Marijuana Program
417 Federal St., Suite 140
Dover, DE 19901
Before doing so, the adult patient must first be diagnosed with a qualifying medical condition and issued a written certification by a doctor of medicine or osteopathic medicine, a physician assistant, or an advanced practice registered nurse. For patients below 18 years old, the diagnosis and written certification must be done by one of the following:
A developmental pediatrician
A pediatric oncologist
A pediatric palliative care specialist
A pediatric gastroenterologist
A pediatric psychiatrist
A pediatric neurologist
The following are the qualifying medical conditions for adult patients:
Chronic Debilitating Migraine
Autism with aggressive behavior
Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS)
Positive status for Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV Positive)
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS/Lou Gehrig’s Disease)
Agitation from Alzheimer’s Disease
A debilitating or chronic condition or treatment that causes any of the following:
Severe persistent muscle spasms
Severe debilitating pain of more than three months not responding to surgery or other medications, or with treatment options that have serious side effects
The following are the qualifying medical conditions for pediatric patients:
Terminal illness resulting in pain, anxiety, or depression
Severe, painful, persistent muscle spasms
Severe debilitating autism
A chronic or debilitating condition resulting in one of the following, unresponsive to other treatments:
Chronic debilitating migraines
New daily persistent headache
All applications online or by mail must be done within 90 days of receiving the doctor’s certification. The standard application fee is $50 and processing usually takes 45 days. Both an electronic and a physical medical cannabis card will be issued, valid for 12 months. Renewal must be done not more than 90 days before expiration.
Patients below 18 years old must be registered online or by mail by a parent, legal guardian, or designated caregiver using the pediatric medical marijuana patient application form. A Responsible Party ID card will be issued to enable the parent, legal guardian, or designated caregiver to purchase medical cannabis for the minor patient.
Adult patients who need assistance from a caregiver must ask the caregiver to register online or by mail using the medical marijuana caregiver application form. A medical cannabis card will be issued to enable the caregiver to purchase medical cannabis for the adult patient whenever the patient could not do so.
All types of applicants whose gross household income is less than or equal to 138% of the federal poverty level may submit a low-income charge request form with the required documentation to reduce the fee to $25.
Since March 1, 2020, the OMM has added a Compassionate Use Card (CUC) that could be given to patients with severe and debilitating conditions certified by a state-licensed healthcare practitioner but did not qualify for a medical cannabis card.
A CBD Rich Card has also been added, allowing holders to purchase only medical cannabis with high CBD and low THC levels. This is used to treat anxiety.
Further information may be requested from:
Office of Medical Marijuana
417 Federal Street
Dover, DE 19901
Phone: (302) 744-4749
The Delaware Marijuana Control Act subjects the retail sale of adult-use cannabis and cannabis products to a tax of 15% of the retail selling price, to be charged to the consumer. This replaces any fees and taxes that a county or municipality may impose on adult-use cannabis businesses. Local government may, however, still impose general business taxes and occupational taxes on adult-use cannabis businesses.
Medical cannabis is not taxed in the State of Delaware. Revenues from medical cannabis come from application fees, license fees, and renewal fees of medical cannabis compassion centers, as well as the fees for the medical cannabis cards of patients and caregivers. These are sent to the Medical Marijuana Program.
The 2021 Medical Marijuana Program Annual Report shows that total revenues from medical cannabis in 2020 were $610,225, with $484,456 used for the expenses of the Medical Marijuana Program. Total revenues for 2021 were higher, at $1,099,878, with $564,800 spent on the Medical Marijuana Program.
Medical cannabis was legalized in 2011 while adult-use cannabis was legalized in 2023 in Kent County.
Data from the Delaware State Police about Kent County on the FBI’s Crime Explorer page shows that in 2010, the year prior to medical cannabis legalization, there were 229 marijuana offense arrests, comprised of 184 arrests for possession and 45 arrests for sales or manufacturing.
In 2012, the year after the legalization of medical cannabis, there were 307 marijuana offense arrests, comprised of 261 arrests for possession and 46 arrests for sales or manufacturing.
In 2021, which is the latest available data, there were 64 marijuana offense arrests, comprised of 43 arrests for possession and 21 arrests for sales or manufacturing.
The number of DUI arrests was as follows in those years:
2010: No data
2012: 38 arrests
2021: 33 arrests