A Brief History of Marijuana Legalization in Delaware

Before marijuana could be legalized in a lot of states, lawmakers frequently had discussions about the pros and cons and how they were going to regulate it. it’s such a sensitive topic because for the most part, it’s still an illegal drug on the federal level and it’s not FDA approve.

Just like other states, Delaware also had its own history of marijuana before it was actually legalized. A lot of things actually happened before the state legalized marijuana for medical use. Delaware marijuana laws seem to be looking positive so read on to know more about it.


There’s no denying that marijuana was already popular in Delaware back in the ‘90s. Of course, it was already popular all over the world, only quite discreetly. people were smoking weed because the high was one of the most exciting things, other than it being illegal.

Luckily, in the late 1990s, some of the states in the United States were then legalizing medical marijuana. in 1996, California was setting the trend for every other state which has greatly influenced the decision of lawmakers all of the country.


It wasn’t until over a decade later that Delaware lawmakers legalized medical marijuana. the state introduced its very own medical marijuana program. The program aimed to help the residents of DE have access to medical marijuana as a form of medical treatment.

During that time, the medical marijuana program released a list of the qualifying conditions. Having such conditions allowed the patients to get their own medical marijuana card. To apply to the program, the patients would need to be assessed by a licensed physician.

The physician must complete a 2-page form that certifies the patient has a qualifying condition and that they’re eligible for the medical marijuana treatment. The rest of the application packet must be filled up by the patient.

Compared to other states, Delaware has a $125 application fee which is definitely higher than other states. The application must be shipped to the Delaware Division of Public Health.


During this year, then Delaware Governor Jack Markell has signed the bill that decriminalized the possession of medical marijuana. Before the this law, whoever got caught having marijuana was penalized and faced criminal sanctions.

After the bill was signed, people within the state were already allowed to have at most an ounce of marijuana without any penalties. They could also use the drug privately without any consequences. But, the catch was that policemen would still confiscate their drugs.

Those who were caught using marijuana at a public place were subjected to a civil fine of $100. This was so much different from the previous law which was when a person was caught using it publicly, they could be sentenced to 6 months in jail and up to $1,150 in fines.

It was also during this year that the first dispensary, The First Compassion Center, opened, more than 4 years after the law was signed. Before the opening, the state’s patients struggled with obtaining medical marijuana because there was still no dispensary in the state.


In 2016, about 61% of the residents in Delaware voted for the full legalization of marijuana in the state. This was a whopping number and a definite amount of pressure for the legalization. However, the law was not signed.


This year was definitely full of shocking events for the state. It was during this year that the state’s lawmakers voted in favor of the legalizing marijuana possession and sales.

Initially, the proposal had over 21 votes for yes and 15 votes for no. But since the law had provisions regarding taxes and fees, it needed about 60% to be passed. This is where it all goes down for the possibilities of legalization – it fell short of four votes.

If it was passed, it would have allowed adults over 21 years old to have up to an ounce of marijuana and five grams of cannabis concentrates. The taxing and regulation system would be authorized but it just wasn’t meant to be.


Today, Delaware lawmakers are finding ways to reintroduce the legalization of marijuana in the state. The law aims to kill the black market for marijuana by establishing a cannabis industry in the state.

This industry would open and create lots of jobs for those who want to explore them. Although, taxes will still be high in terms of license fees and taxes.

According to Chief House Sponsor, Ed Osienski, they want to create and industry that’s perfectly legal and will pay good jobs to those who come looking for it. But it’s not looking good for those who are hoping to grow their own marijuana at home. The bill still won’t allow it in the near future.

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