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Cannabis Policy Reform in Delaware

As the legislative session came to a close, lawmakers approved expansions to the state’s medical-marijuana program, while an adult-use legalization bill stalled. Delaware lawmakers deliberated several cannabis-related proposals during this year’s legislative session, and although an adult-use legalization measure failed to get a floor vote, the legislature approved expansions to the state’s medical-marijuana program. Lawmakers passed a bill that would add “new daily persistent headache” and chronic debilitating migraines to the state’s list of qualifying conditions, The Washington Post reported. The legislature also passed legislation authorizing a person with a severe, debilitating condition that is not on the list to use medical marijuana. Last week, with just days left before the legislative session, lawmakers introduced two other last-minute medical marijuana expansion measures, although both ultimately stalled. Senate Bill 170 aimed to add anxiety to the state’s list of qualifying conditions and passed the Senate June 25 in a 19-2 vote, although it did not receive a House vote. House Bill 243 would have allowed satisfied medical marijuana patients to grow 12 plants—six immature and six mature—at home, but the legislation never advanced out of committee. House Bill 110, introduced May 16, would have regulated and taxed marijuana in the same way as alcohol, allowing adults 21 and older to legally possess and consume 1 ounce of cannabis for personal use. This measure also stalled in committee, but lawmakers did pass a proposal to expand the state’s decriminalization law. The new measure decriminalizes simple possession of marijuana for minors. Possessing an ounce or less of cannabis is currently a civil violation for adults 21 and older, but it remained a criminal misdemeanor for those under 18. Now, under the new bill, possession of an ounce or less of marijuana is a civil violation for the first offense in all cases. The medical marijuana and decriminalization measures now go to Gov. John Carney for his signature.

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