Medical Marijuana Bill Introduced In Delaware; Montel Supports



​Delaware, ​”The First State,” could become the 16th to legalize medical marijuana.

State Senator Margaret Rose Henry and three Senate co-sponsors on Tuesday introduced SB 17 in the Delaware State Senate, calling for a common sense approach to providing compassionate care for seriously ill patients seeking relief with medical marijuana. Rep. Helene Keeley is the prime sponsor in the House, with eight co-sponsoring House members on the bill.

Montel Williams, a popular former talk show host and multiple sclerosis patient, attended Tuesday’s legislative session to meet with lawmakers and the Governor to urge them to support SB 17. Neuropathic pain associated with MS is one of the ailments for which marijuana has been shown to provide relief.
Passage of the bill would allow Delaware patients suffering from several devastating illnesses to receive medical marijuana with a doctor’s recommendation.

Robert Craig/The News Journal
Sen. Margaret Rose Henry: “Delaware legislators have been listening to patients and families in community meetings and the stories they’ve heard changed minds and hearts”
Sen. Henry and Montel were joined at the press conference Tuesday by Joe Scarborough, an HIV/AIDS patient and longtime medical marijuana advocate, as well as Don Brill, a cancer survivor who created the patient advocacy website Delawareans for Medical Marijuana to keep patients informed and provide them with a forum for discussing their experiences.
“Delaware legislators have been listening to patients and families in community meetings and the stories they’ve heard changed minds and hearts,” Sen. Henry said. “Legislators have begun to understand the very real need for legislative action to allow this treatment option without in any way undermining law enforcement or the prosecution of those engaged in the recreational use of marijuana.”
“This bill carries forward common sense restrictions that are now part of state law and it provides an appropriately strong component that is right for our communities,” Sen. Henry said.
​”The Delaware Legislature should act without delay to make marijuana legally available for medical use,” said Williams, who has been using medicinal cannabis for a decade to treat the pain and spasms associated with his degenerative disease. “Every day that legislators delay is another day of needless suffering for patients like me all across the state.”
Williams noted that 15 states and Washington, D.C., already have passed laws allowing the medical use of marijuana to treat patients suffering from cancer, HIV/AIDS, and similarly devastating diseases.
Photo: WNPR – Connecticut Public Radio
Montel Williams: “Every day that they delay is another one of needless suffering for patients like me all across the state”
“Delaware lawmakers now have an opportunity to ensure that patients suffering in Delaware will be treated with the same compassion as patients fortunate enough to live in one of those 15 other states,” said Williams, who retired from the U.S. Navy as Lieutenant Commander after more than two decades of service prior to beginning his TV career.
Under SB 17, qualified patients could obtain medical marijuana from state-licensed medical cannabis organizations regulated by the State Department of Health and Social Services, which would also issue medical marijuana ID cards to patients who receive recommendations from their doctors. Public use of marijuana and driving under the influence would remain prohibited.
Nationally, the American Nurses Association, American Public Health Association, American Academy of HIV Medicine, the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, and many other respected health organizations have endorsed the efficacy of medical marijuana according to the Marijuana Policy Project.
Delaware’s neighbors Vermont, Rhode Island, New Jersey, and Maine, along with the District of Columbia, have all already legalized the medicinal use of marijuana with a doctor’s authorization. A bill is currently before the Maryland Legislature.