|Governor Jack Markell of Delaware on Friday signed into law a measure legalizing medical marijuana in the state.|
Governor Jack Markell on Friday signed SB 17 into law, making it legal for Delaware residents with certain serious medical conditions to use medical marijuana with a doctor’s recommendation.
The bill had bipartisan sponsors and support in the Legislature. This makes Delaware the 16th state, along with the District of Columbia, to pass an effective medical marijuana law.
The law goes into effect on July 1 and will permit people diagnosed with cancer, HIV/AIDS, multiple sclerosis, decompensated cirrhosis, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), agitation of Alzheimer’s disease, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), intractable nausea, severe seizures, severe and persistent muscle spasms, wasting syndrome, and severe debilitating pain that has not responded to other treatments, or for which treatments produced serious side effects, to possess up to six ounces of marijuana without fear of arrest.
|Robert Craig/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”|
Patients will unfortunately not be able to grow their own medicine, but they will be able to get medical marijuana from state-licensed “compassion centers” regulated by the Delaware Department of Health and Social Services. The DHSS will also issue medical marijuana ID cards to patients who receive a recommendation from their doctor.
Public use of marijuana and driving under the influence remain prohibited.
“There are so many people in Delaware who are suffering unimaginable pain that this will help, and we want to be able to do what we can to provide much-needed relief for those citizens,” said Senate Majority Whip Margaret Rose Henry (D-Wilmington East), who sponsored the legislation.
“I am very grateful that so many of my colleagues were able to look past the myths surrounding marijuana and into the eyes and hearts of those who were crying out for help,” Henry said. “Needless to say, I am profoundly grateful to Governor Markell for his support of this important legislation.”
“Today is an amazing victory for seriously ill Delaware patients, who have been waiting a very long time for the chance to use the medicine they need without fear,” said Noah Mamber, legislative analyst for the Marijuana Policy Project, who lobbied and mobilized patients, professionals, and grassroots activists in support of the bill.
“SB 17 is the most comprehensive, tightly-written medical marijuana bill in the country, and with this vote, the Delaware Legislature proved that compassion is not a red or blue issue,” Mamber said. “It’s a human issue.”
“Until this law was passed, I was afraid to use medical marijuana, even though it helped me in the past, because if I was arrested and put in jail, they could not properly care for me, and I could actually die,” said Chris McNeely, a Dagsboro National Guard veteran and chronic pain patient with severe wasting syndrome. “I am so happy to get legal relief soon.”
Currently, there is a medical marijuana bill working its way through the Connecticut state legislature that has the support of Governor Dannel Malloy. In addition, there are movements underway to potentially put medical marijuana initiatives on the 2012 ballot in both Arkansas and Ohio, reports Jon Walker at Just Say Now.