Delaware State Senate OKs Medical Marijuana Bill, Sending It To Gov. Markell

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Healthy Indoor Medical Cannabis

DOVER – The Delaware Senate sent Gov. Jack Markell legislation late this afternoon that would make Delaware the 16th state to legalize marijuana use for medical purposes.

The Senate voted 17-4, also approving amendments the House added to the bill last week requiring medical marijuana be distributed in tamper-proof containers and prohibiting smoking the drug in vehicles and buses.

Markell is expected to sign the bill soon in order to initiate a one-year licensing and regulatory-writing process at the Department of Health and Social Services, a spokesman said.

Under Senate Bill 17, physicians could recommend marijuana for patients suffering from cancer, Hiv/AIDS, multiple sclerosis, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), Alzheimer's disease and post-traumatic stress disorder.

People with other chronic disease or debilitating medical conditions could qualify if other medicines or surgical procedures have failed to relieve their pain or caused seizures, severe or persistent muscle spasms and intractable nausea. Physicians and patients would have to have a “bona fide physician-patient relationship” and other medical treatments would have to be exhausted before marijuana is recommended, according to the legislation.

The state would issue medical marijuana identification cards to patients 18 years and older or their assigned caregivers, who would have to be 21 years old and have no prior felony offenses.

Qualified patients could obtain up to 6 ounces of marijuana each month from one of three not-for-profit dispensaries in each county that would be licensed and inspected by the Department of Health and Social Services.

clivengood/delawareonline