Delaware Marijuana Laws

6 min read

Delaware Marijuana Laws

March 13, 2023

Delaware’s approach to marijuana laws has seen significant transformations. The state legalized medical marijuana in 2011 and decriminalized the possession of small amounts of marijuana in 2015. As of April 2023, Delaware has legalized recreational marijuana for adults aged 21 and over, allowing the legal possession of up to one ounce. However, the cultivation of marijuana for personal use remains illegal, and the sale of recreational marijuana, while legalized, is expected to commence around late 2024. This article will delve into the current landscape of Delaware’s marijuana laws, covering the medical marijuana program, decriminalization laws, and the recent developments in recreational marijuana legislation.. 

Is Marijuana Legal in Delaware?

As of April 2023, Delaware has legalized recreational marijuana for adults aged 21 and over. Adults can legally possess up to one ounce of marijuana. However, the cultivation of marijuana for personal use remains illegal. While the sale of recreational marijuana is not yet legal, a regulatory framework is under development, with sales expected to begin around late 2024.

Medical Marijuana Program in Delaware

Delaware’s Medical Marijuana Program continues to provide access to cannabis for patients with qualifying medical conditions. Managed by the Delaware Department of Health and Social Services (DHSS), the program adheres to regulations set by the Delaware Medical Marijuana Act.

Qualifying medical conditions for the program include:

  • Terminal illness;
  • Cancer;
  • Decompensated cirrhosis;
  • Hepatitis C;
  • Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis/Lou Gehrig’s disease;
  • Agitation of Alzheimer’s disease;
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD);
  • Intractable epilepsy;
  • Autism with self-injurious or aggressive behavior;
  • Glaucoma;
  • Chronic debilitating migraines;
  • Severe or persistent muscle spasms, including those characteristics of multiple sclerosis;
  • A chronic or debilitating disease or medical condition that produces one or more of the following:
    • Cachexia (wasting syndrome);
    • Severe, debilitating pain that has not responded to prescribed medication in three months;
    • Intractable nausea;
    • Seizures.

Patients who are interested in joining the program must first obtain a certification from a qualified physician in Delaware, who must confirm that the patient has a qualifying medical condition and could benefit from using medical marijuana.

In order to qualify for a Medical Marijuana card, you must meet the following qualifications:

  • Be 18 years of age or older or be a pediatric patient with parental consent.
  • Be diagnosed with a qualifying medical condition – the list can be found here.
  • Have a Health Care Practitioner Certification from a Delaware-licensed MD, DO, APRN or PA.
  • Be a Delaware resident with proof of residency (DE Driver’s License or DE State ID).

Once certified, patients can apply to the DHSS for a medical marijuana ID card. This card allows patients to purchase medical marijuana from one of Delaware’s licensed compassion centers (dispensaries) that operate in the state. 

Purchasing Limits in Delaware

For medical marijuana, patients and caregivers may possess up to six ounces, though purchases are limited to no more than three ounces every 14 days. Recreational users are allowed up to one ounce of cannabis leaf, 12 grams or less of concentrate, or marijuana products containing up to 750 milligrams of Delta-9 THC. 

Where Can I Use or Possess Marijuana 

In Delaware, individuals 21 years or older are legally permitted to possess and consume recreational marijuana in private settings. Usage is allowed in private residences, subject to the owner’s consent. Public consumption, including smoking, vaping, or consuming marijuana in parks, sidewalks, and restaurants, remains illegal.

Additionally, possession of marijuana on school grounds or in a vehicle, even as a passenger, is prohibited. Medical marijuana patients are similarly permitted to use and possess their medication in private settings, adhering to guidelines set forth by the Delaware Medical Marijuana Act.

Sale and Distribution of Marijuana in Delaware

In Delaware, the sale and distribution of marijuana remain legal for medical purposes through licensed dispensaries. Recreational marijuana sales, though legalized, are not expected to start until late 2024. Licensed compassion centers are authorized to sell medical marijuana to patients with valid ID cards issued by the Delaware Department of Health and Social Services (DHSS).

The sale and distribution of marijuana outside this regulated system are illegal and subject to criminal charges. Transporting marijuana across state lines remains illegal, regardless of its legality in other states.


Contrary to previous allowances, the cultivation of marijuana for both medical and recreational purposes remains illegal in Delaware. This includes cultivation by licensed dispensaries, patients, and caregivers. All forms of marijuana cultivation outside the state-regulated system are subject to criminal charges.

Additionally, transporting marijuana across state lines is illegal, regardless of its legality in other states.

Driving and Traveling 

Driving under the influence of marijuana remains illegal in Delaware for all individuals, including medical marijuana patients and recreational users. Delaware’s DUI laws strictly enforce this prohibition. Operating a vehicle while impaired by any substance, including marijuana, is subject to legal penalties.

Individuals charged with driving under the influence of marijuana may face DUI charges, resulting in fines, license suspension, and potentially jail time. For medical marijuana patients, being under the influence while driving can lead to the revocation of their certification and ID card.

Furthermore, transporting marijuana across state lines is illegal, regardless of its legality in other states. When traveling within Delaware, it’s advisable to keep marijuana in a secure, sealed container, preferably in the trunk of the vehicle or in a location not easily accessible while driving.

Marijuana Advertising Laws in Delaware

The advertising laws for marijuana in Delaware remain as described. The state maintains strict regulations on how both medical and recreational marijuana can be advertised. For medical marijuana, ads are allowed under specific guidelines to ensure they do not target minors or present misleading information. For recreational marijuana, the Delaware Marijuana Control Act upholds similar standards, including prohibitions on outdoor advertising and mandatory age-related warnings in advertisements.


As Delaware navigates the new landscape of legalized recreational marijuana, alongside its established medical marijuana program, the state is poised for significant changes. Despite ongoing regulatory and implementation challenges, the trend towards a more accepting stance on cannabis is evident. The eventual commencement of recreational sales and the continued operation of the medical program present opportunities for economic growth, job creation, and increased tax revenue. The future of cannabis in Delaware indeed looks promising, marking a significant shift in the state’s approach to this once-controversial issue.