One Year Later, Medical Marijuana At A Standstill In Delaware


The California Pot Blog

Hundreds of Delaware residents suffering from serious health problems thought a year ago when Gov. Jack Markell signed the state’s medical marijuana law that they were on the verge of finally being legally allowed to use the herb to treat nausea and pain. But they’re still waiting for safe access to cannabis — and are becoming more disappointed and frustrated by the day.

Many doctors, who must write the recommendations which authorize medicinal cannabis use, are reluctant to give their approval, and the state is in a stalemate with the federal government over plants for distributing marijuana, reports Doug Denison at Delaware Online.
The reluctance of Delaware’s medical community to embrace marijuana come from two main sources, Denison reports: Some physicians just aren’t convinced that cannabis is an effective treatment, while others worry that they could get in legal trouble if they authorize patients to use the substance, since it is federally classified as a Schedule I drug. (If they were lawyers instead of doctors, they’d realize that question has already been addressed and resolved by the Supreme Court in the Conant v. Walters case.)

Christiana Care
Dr. Dan Depietropaolo: “Your patient can use it, you can recommend it, but they have to obtain it illegally… that is not a solution”

“I would think most are waiting to see what happens,” said Dr. Dan Depietropaolo, national media director of Compassionate Care Hospice. Dr. Depietropaolo works out of CCH’s branch at St. Francis Hospital in Wilmington, Del.
According to Depietropaolo, most doctors want an “all-clear” from every level of government before authorizing patients to use medical marijuana.
Patients must have one of the serious medical conditions listed in Delaware’s law and must be under the continuing care of a physician who has sworn, in writing, that the patient’s treatment is enhanced by cannabis and that other treatment options have been tried.
Medical marijuana patients with ID cards from the Delaware Department of Health and Social Services are unfortunately not allowed to grow their own medicine, being forced to depend on the state-licensed “compassion centers” for their supply.
Implementation of Delaware’s law — which provided for the establishment of state-run medical marijuana dispensaries in each county — was halted earlier this year when U.S. Attorney Charles M. Oberly III told Gov. Jack Markell that the federal Department of Justice “could and would” prosecute state workers who participate in the distribution system.
Oberly repeated the Obama Administration’s official stance that the federal government does not go after individual patients who use medicinal cannabis, but only those who grow and provide the herb commercially.
In the absence of state-licensed dispensaries, medical marijuana patients in Delaware are still forced to buy pot on the black market. “Your patient can use it, you can recommend it, but they have to obtain it illegally on the street corner from a dangerous person,” Dr. Depietropaolo said. “To me, that is not a solution.”