States that have both a medical marijuana law and have removed jail time for possessing small amounts of marijuana
Last update: January 30, 2023
On January 20, 2023, Representative Ed Osienski (D) introduced two separate cannabis bills — HB 1 and HB 2.
HB 1, which would simply legalize possession of up to one ounce of cannabis for adults 21 and older, has been approved by the House Health and Human Development Committee. Because it has no fees or taxes, HB 1 should head straight to the House floor where it will need a simple majority (21 votes) to pass.
HB 2, which would regulate and tax cannabis sales for adults in Delaware, has been approved by the House Revenue and Finance Committee. Next, HB 2 must be considered by the House Appropriations Committee before heading to the House floor, where it will need a supermajority (25 votes) to pass.
Last year, Gov. John Carney (D) became the first Democratic governor to veto a cannabis legalization bill by vetoing HB 371 — a bill that would’ve legalized possession of up to one ounce of cannabis for adults 21 and older in Delaware.
However, the 2023 legislative session brings new members to the General Assembly and new hope that this could be the year Delaware finally legalizes cannabis.
Since Governor Carney has been opposed to legalization, we are calling on Delawareans across the state to call the governor at (302) 744-4101 and ask him to allow HB 1 and HB 2 to become law if they reach his desk. Remember to be polite, succinct, and respectful. Here is a sample script you can start with for your call:
My name is __________ and I live in __________, Delaware. I’m reaching out to urge Gov. Carney to sign HB 1 and HB 2 to legalize and regulate cannabis into law.
There are now 21 states — including neighboring New Jersey and Maryland — that have ended cannabis prohibition. More than 70% of Delaware voters want to see our state follow suit.
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.
MPP’s Karen O’Keefe and Noah Mamber in Dover with Sen. Margaret Rose Henry and several of the state’s most committed patients to watch then-Gov. Markell sign SB 17, the state’s medical cannabis bill.
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.