Delaware Gun Rights for Medical Cannabis Patients
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On May 11, 2011, Governor Jack Markell signed a law permitting patients 18 and older with “certain chronic or disabling diseases” to consume cannabis.
The Delaware Medical Marijuana Act made it legal for patients in Delaware with serious medical conditions to use medical marijuana as prescribed by their doctors.
In order to be eligible to use medical marijuana, a patient’s doctor must certify in writing that the patient has a specific qualifying medical condition and would benefit therapeutically from using medicinal marijuana.
The Delaware Department of Health and Social Services (DHSS) provides a medical marijuana card to patients who submit a completed application and a copy of the written doctor’s certification.
Medical cannabis patients in Delaware must be diagnosed with one of the illnesses listed below:
- Terminal illness
- Positive status for Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV Positive)
- Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS)
- Decompensated cirrhosis
- Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS / Lou Gehrig’s Disease)
- Agitation of Alzheimer’s disease
- Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
- Intractable epilepsy
- Autism with self-injurious or aggressive behavior
- Chronic Debilitating Migraines
- A chronic or debilitating disease or medical condition or its treatment that produces one or more of the following
- Cachexia or wasting syndrome
- Severe, debilitating pain that has not responded to previously prescribed medication or surgical measures for more than three months, or for which other treatment options produced serious side effects
- Intractable nausea
- Severe and persistent muscle spasms, including but not limited to those characteristic of Multiple Sclerosis (MS)
Patients or caregivers are not permitted by Delaware law to cultivate marijuana in their homes.
As an alternative, the law gives patients access to their medication through state-licensed, non-profit compassion centers that grow medicinal marijuana.
A patient may only register with one compassion center, and compassion centers may only give three ounces to a patient every 14 days.
In April 2023, Delaware became the 22nd state to approve marijuana for adult use after Gov. John Carney let two bills become law without signing them.
When the state passed these two bills, the goals were to let people over 21 have access and to set up a legal framework for an adult-use market to grow in the coming months.
House Bill 1 gets rid of all penalties for having a small amount of marijuana for personal use for people over the age of 21.
Possessing more marijuana than you need for personal use or using it in public will still be considered unclassified crimes.
House Bill 2 — also called the Delaware Marijuana Control Act — controls and imposes taxes on adult-use marijuana sales.
It encourages equal opportunities and involvement for residents of the communities that were most affected by cannabis prohibition in the legal sector and gives back some tax revenue to those areas.
Does Having a Medical Cannabis Card Mean Not Being Eligible for a Gun License in Delaware?
Federal law presently prohibits medicinal marijuana users from purchasing or owning weapons.
Unauthorized users of any restricted substance, including marijuana, are not permitted to possess, ship, transfer, or receive weapons or ammunition, according to Federal law.
Additionally, selling a firearm or ammunition to anybody is illegal if the vendor knows or has good grounds to suspect that the buyer uses marijuana illegally (which is “always” on a Federal level.)
In October 2022, Delaware Gov. John Carney terminated a bill that would have let people who use medical marijuana carry guns without worrying about getting in trouble with the state.
Since Federal law says that people who use medical marijuana can’t buy or own guns, House Bill 276 would have changed that and would have ensured that people who aren’t already banned from having guns wouldn’t be punished at the state level.
The House of Representatives passed the bill with no votes against it and by a vote of 17 to 4 in the Senate.
As of this writing, there is still no rule that protects people who use medical marijuana and also have guns.
Even though Delaware has approved medical and recreational marijuana, Federal limits can make it hard for medical marijuana patients to own a gun in Delaware.
Can You Take Your Gun to a Dispensary in Delaware?
In Delaware, neither a license nor a registration of weapons is necessary to buy a firearm.
Federal law mandates that licensed dealers perform background checks and maintain records of all private weapons transfers to anybody other than family members.
This rule does not apply to transfers made to individuals with current Concealed Deadly Weapon Licenses (CDWLs) from Delaware.
Anyone over 18 who is legally allowed to own a handgun may carry it openly in Delaware.
However, there are some places that are off-limits, such as correctional centers and schools.
For residents who have a CDWL, concealed carry is permitted in Delaware.
You must complete a weapons training program, including live-fire shooting drills to get a permit.
Ten days prior to submitting, applicants must publish their application in a neighborhood newspaper and collect five references from county residents.
A court and the attorney general’s office will both consider the application.
Prisons, other detention centers, and any location where carrying a handgun is forbidden by Federal or state law, are off-limits even with a permit or license.
Private properties with signs that forbid the use of weapons are also off-limits, even with a license.
As long as the establishment doesn’t prohibit open or concealed carry with a license, you can carry your gun inside the dispensary.
Can You Consume CBD and Own a Gun in Delaware?
CBD products produced from hemp are entirely legal in the state of Delaware.
In other words, any resident may purchase any CBD product made from hemp, but not from marijuana.
This is due to hemp’s low THC content, which is the psychoactive ingredient that keeps marijuana illegal at the Federal level.
Nevertheless, Delaware has legalized medical marijuana as well as adult use.
This indicates that using CBD produced from marijuana is lawful if you have a doctor-issued prescription for medicinal marijuana.
Those who are interested in using hemp-derived CBD and owning a gun at the same time may do so without worrying about legal repercussions because hemp-derived CBD is legal in the state of Delaware.
Medical marijuana patients may use both hemp-derived and marijuana-derived CBD products.
Can I Own a Gun if My Spouse Has A Medical Cannabis Card in Delaware?
Even though Delaware allows medical cannabis and lets people own guns, it’s important to think about how state and Federal laws work when cannabis and guns interact.
Under Federal law, owning a gun is illegal when you use cannabis, even for medical reasons.
If you live with someone who uses marijuana, even for medical reasons, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) may see that as a possible violation of Federal law, which could affect your ability to own a gun.
It’s important to talk to a lawyer specializing in Delaware’s gun rules and regulations to get correct and up-to-date information.
They can advise you based on the most recent rules and how they are interpreted in your area.
Laws and how they are interpreted can be different, and your case may have its own exceptions.
Get Your Delaware Medical Cannabis Card in Minutes
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