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Delaware voters approved a medical marijuana bill in 2011, allowing patients with debilitating conditions to purchase and consume therapeutic cannabis products. Recreational use remains illegal, but possession of small amounts is no longer punishable by steep fines and jail time.
For dispensary owners, Delaware can be a challenging but highly rewarding state to expand to. As of 2019, the state only operates three dispensaries, which are called compassion centers in Delaware’s legal language.
Yes. Delaware’s medical marijuana facilities operate exclusively based on state licensing. Applicants must successfully apply for a license and operate according to state regulations.
Delaware’s Department of Health and Social Services is responsible for managing, approving, and issuing medical marijuana licenses to patients, dispensaries, and cultivators. The department’s Division of Public Health is the primary regulating body for the state.
Dispensary owners must submit applications to the Delaware Division of Public Health during one of the state’s open enrollment periods. As of 2019, the state has undergone only one open enrollment period and is not accepting new applications.
Delaware verifies marijuana dispensary applications according to a strict list of requirements, which include seed-to-sale reporting, board member background checks, and security. Delaware requires that cannabis dispensaries register as non-profit organizations.
Every applicant must pay a non-refundable $5,000 application fee. Upon application approval, Delaware compassion centers must pay an additional $40,000 certification fee.
Yes. Delaware requires its cannabis dispensaries to pay a $40,000 certification fee every year. Unlike the first-time non-refundable application fee, the state will refund $40,000 to dispensaries whose renewal applications are rejected.
Delaware offers a single license type for the cultivation, transport, packaging, and sale of medical marijuana products. Medical marijuana dispensaries are forbidden from servicing recreational users under any circumstances.
The Delaware Division of Public Health states it will issue cannabis dispensary licenses within 30 days of receiving complete applications along with all necessary fees. In practice, the state’s first rollout of medical marijuana licensing suffered numerous delays.
Probably. Delaware citizens and lawmakers have criticized the state’s dispensary application and approval process for lack of transparency. It is likely that any new enrollment period will enjoy a more transparent process, particularly for current and out-of-state dispensary owners.
Delaware marijuana dispensaries must be located more than 1,000 feet away from any pre-existing public or private school. The term “pre-existing” protects cannabis dispensaries from the possibility of a new school opening nearby and forcing them to move.
No. There is no mention of cannabis events or conventions in Delaware state law. The state’s existing compassion centers and pro-legalization groups regularly hold cannabis-themed events.
No. Because Delaware state law does not provide for any legal framework concerning cannabis-related events, no licensing structure applies.
Medical marijuana dispensary owners in Delaware are free to host marijuana-themed events. For physicians, on the other hand, hosting or participating in an event could be seen as a conflict of interest according to state law.
The best way to ensure compliance is to hire an experienced compliance officer and implement automated tools for the state’s seed-to-sale reporting requirements. As state law changes and develops, dispensary owners will need to change their approach to meet new regulations.
Delaware requires dispensaries to implement access control, video surveillance, and electronic alarm systems. Dispensaries must verify their security systems once every 30 days and maintain records of each systems’ functionality.
Yes. State law assumes that dispensaries will provide for their own packaging, labeling, and processing areas. The small size of Delaware’s medical marijuana industry favors organizations that can maximize their in-house productivity in this way.
Don’t risk it. Delaware state law does not mention dispensary sales of tobacco or alcohol. However, compassion centers are considered non-profit medical clinics, which means the for-profit sale of products without obvious medical uses may be grounds for the Division of Public Health to revoke a dispensary license.
Yes. Delaware’s regulatory environment favors vertically integrated cannabis businesses. The state’s application process assumes that dispensaries also cultivate their own cannabis and provides for multiple addresses for cultivation and sale in distinct locations.
Don’t risk it. While Delaware state law doesn’t specifically forbid product giveaways, it does require dispensaries to implement policies that ensure marijuana is not re-distributed or diverted to the black market.
Delaware does not impose operating hours on cannabis dispensaries. Applicants must state their business hours when submitting applications and reporting sales.
Delaware’s state statutes do not forbid dispensaries from putting up public-facing displays. However, since the state’s dispensaries are non-profit medical clinics, it could punish dispensaries for targeting recreational users or advertising like a for-profit organization.
Delaware medical marijuana cardholders must be 18 years or older. Qualifying minors may only purchase marijuana through the participation of a certified caregiver with explicit permission from the minor’s pediatrician.
Delaware requires dispensaries to track every cannabis product they sell using batch numbers that apply to individual plants. These batch numbers follow the plants through the supply chain and must be prominently displayed on cannabis product packaging. Delaware compassion centers must implement solutions for tracing cannabis products securely at any point in logistics or processing.