Medical marijuana was legalized in Delaware in 2011, but implementation of the program was stopped by Governor Jack Markell after he expressed concern that people involved in marijuana cultivation and distribution could by subject to federal prosecution.¬† Now, Markell is proposing a medical marijuana pilot program be put into place.
In a letter to lawmakers on Thursday, Markell proposed a pilot program that would allow for one “compassion center” that would grow and distribute medical marijuana to patients.¬† Delaware’s medical marijuana law called for 3 compassion centers throughout the state, with one in each county.
Markell also proposed that the compassion center only be permitted to grow 150 plants at a time and hold an¬† inventory of 1,500 ounces of marijuana at any given time.
Additionally, the center would be subject to regulations from the state Department of Health and Social Services.¬† Examples of such regulations include 24/7 security monitoring and strict measures to make sure that medical marijuana is only distributed to qualified patients.¬† The compassion center would also be required to report the source of any funds of $5,000 and report any missing marijuana to authorities within 24 hours.
In the letter to lawmakers Helene Keeley and Margaret Rose Henry, Markell wrote, “The sensible and humane aim of state policy in Delaware remains to ensure that medical marijuana is accessible via a safe, well-regulated channel of distribution to patients with demonstrated medical need.”
Delaware currently only has 39 registered cardholders, but that is because there is no way to legally obtain medical marijuana in the state.¬† According to Keeley, there are hundreds of patients who are waiting to register to participate in the medical marijuana program as soon as dispensaries are established.
The DHHS plans to draft regulations for the compassion center by October 1st.¬† They would likely select a vendor by next May, with hopes of opening Delaware’s first compassion center during Summer 2014.