Marijuana is legal for adults and is taxed and regulated similarly to alcohol; state also has a medical marijuana law
Last update: April 25, 2023
Delaware becomes 22nd state to legalize cannabis!
On April 21, 2023, Governor John Carney (D) announced he will allow HB 1 and HB 2, bills to legalize and regulate cannabis for adults, became law without his signature. Both bills had passed the legislature in supermajority votes.
The First State is now the 22nd state to legalize cannabis.
Since the governor had until Saturday April 22 to act on HB 1, the bill became law at midnight. The governor had until Wednesday, April 26 to act on HB 2, so that bill will become law thereafter.
Representative Ed Osienski (D) sponsored both bills, with Sen. Trey Paradee (D) — leading the charge in the Senate.
HB 1, legalizes possession of up to one ounce of cannabis for adults 21
HB 2, will regulate and tax cannabis sales for adults in Delaware.
Check out our summaries for details.
MPP is a proud member of the Delaware Cannabis Policy Coalition, which organized to end cannabis prohibition for years in Delaware. From organizing lobby days, rallies, and town halls, testifying in key committees, conducting media outreach, voter guides, and so much more, we’re proud to have played a leading role to reach this historic moment. We’re grateful to the amazing volunteers who stepped up year after year despite hurdles — including Gov. Carney’s veto of a 2021 bill. We’d like to extend a huge congratulations to Representative Osienski and Senator Paradee for their years of commitment and work to legalize cannabis in Delaware.
MPP’s Olivia Naugle testifying before the Senate Health and Social Services Committee in support of HB 1 and HB 2
Make sure you’re signed up for our email alerts so we can keep you updated on the effort.
A group of organizations, including MPP, are working together to equitably legalize cannabis as the Delaware Cannabis Policy Coalition. Check out our website, contact your lawmakers in support of legalization, and consider getting more involved! If you are a member of an organization that would like to join our coalition, we would love to hear from you. We are in the process of growing our network of supporters.
Regulators allow medical cannabis delivery; seven compassion centers now open
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Delaware’s medical cannabis program has allowed medical cannabis to be delivered to qualified patients and caregivers throughout the state.
Home delivery was first allowed due to Delaware’s state of emergency declaration, but regulated home delivery will be allowed permanently.
You can find a list of compassion centers in Delaware here.
The Department of Health continues to accept applications for medical cannabis ID cards, which are required for patients seeking to obtain their medicine from a compassion center. If you are interested in obtaining your medical cannabis ID card, please visit the medical cannabis program’s website or call them at (302) 744-4749 to receive application forms. If you have further questions about the medical cannabis program, please see our summary of the law.
Governor signs expungement bills
In 2018, 2019, and 2021, Gov. John Carney signed bills to expand expungement, including for cannabis convictions.
The 2018 law — SB 197 — allowed individuals with a single conviction for possessing up to an ounce of cannabis to automatically qualify to clear their record. To receive an expungement, individuals must first request their certified records from the State Bureau of Identification. Then, they pay a fee and fill out a form to apply for mandatory expungement.
In June 2019, Gov. Carney signed SB 37 into law. This law allows for a single cannabis misdemeanor conviction to be expunged after five years and a single cannabis felony conviction to be expunged after seven years.
Finally, in June 2021, the legislature passed and Gov. Carney signed Clean Slate expungement bills — SB 111 and SB 112. Among other reforms, SB 112 allows all misdemeanor cannabis possession convictions to be eligible for mandatory expungement. It also allows drug felonies to be eligible for mandatory expungement once 10 years have passed since the conviction. Starting on August 1, 2024, the expungement process will be automatic for any offenses eligible for mandatory expungement.
Delaware’s decriminalization law
In December 2015, Delaware’s bill to decriminalize cannabis possession took effect. HB 39, which passed the General Assembly and was signed into law by then-Governor Jack Markell, made possession of up to one ounce of cannabis by adults a civil violation punishable by a $100 fine with no possibility of jail. Possession of up to an ounce of cannabis was previously a misdemeanor punishable by up to a $575 fine and up to three months in jail. Please see our summary of HB 39 for further details.
On July 31, 2019, Gov. Carney signed SB 45 into law, which expanded the decriminalization to those under 21 years old.
Today, Gov. John Carney (D) became the first Democratic governor to veto a cannabis legalization bill by vetoing HB 371 — a bill that would legalize possession of up to one ounce of cannabis for adults 21 and older in Delaware. Meanwhile, a supermajority of Delawareans support cannabis legalization.