Skip to main content

Medical Marijuana Bills Advance in Delaware, Washington

Submitted by Phillip Smith on (Issue #676)
Drug War Issues
Politics & Advocacy

Medical marijuana bills advanced on both coasts this week. In Washington state, a bill already approved by the Senate passed out of committee Wednesday and is headed to a floor vote in the House, while in Delaware, a bill passed out of committee the same day and is headed for a floor vote in the Senate.

From Dover to Olympia, medical marijuana is on the move. (Image via
In Washington, a now heavily amended Senate Bill 5073 passed out of the House Health Care Committee on a tight 6-5 vote. Washington already has a medical marijuana law, but this bill would create a regulatory framework for a system of state-licensed dispensaries. Dispensaries are already operating in the state without formal legal approval, and one dispensary operator was recently convicted of state marijuana trafficking offenses in Spokane.

But the bill, if passed, won't necessarily ensure an in for existing dispensaries. Instead, it allows the state Health Department to determine the number of dispensaries to operate in each county and sets up a lottery for licenses. Existing dispensaries are not grandfathered in. Dispensaries would no longer have to be nonprofit, as the bill originally envisaged.

Patients could voluntarily register with the state and be protected from prosecution if they possessed up to 15 plants and 24 ounces of medical marijuana. Caregivers could also register with the same protections. Patients who do not register, but do possess a letter from a physician could use medical need as part of an affirmative defense.

Patients and caregivers could also band together in grow collectives of up to 10 patients and 150 plants.

On the other side of the country, Delaware's Senate Bill 17 passed out of the Senate Health and Human Services Committee Wednesday afternoon on a unanimous vote. The bill would create a system of three nonprofit medical marijuana dispensaries, one for each county, to be regulated by the Department of Health and Human Services.

It would allow patients with approved qualifying conditions and a written recommendation from a physician to obtain a patient ID card from the department, which would protect the patient from arrest if he or she is in compliance with the law.

Patients would be allowed to possess up to six ounces of marijuana, while registered caregivers could possess that amount for up to five patients. The law does not, however, appear to explicitly allow patients or their caregivers to grow their own plants.

The bill now heads for a Senate floor vote, possibly on March 31. If it passes, it then goes on to the House.

Fifteen states and the District of Columbia have already approved medical marijuana law. Bills are moving in other states this year, including Connecticut, Hawaii, Illinois, and New Hampshire.

Permission to Reprint: This content is licensed under a modified Creative Commons Attribution license. Content of a purely educational nature in Drug War Chronicle appear courtesy of DRCNet Foundation, unless otherwise noted.


FumoMMj (not verified)

Honestly we need someone to control the hole picture even if some people do not like the state in the picture. Then again this is what is needed we can not allow this to go with no guidance or control.

Then as a patient honestly we would benefit from going to a pharmacy or what the state decides.  1) Quality Medicine at a reasonable price no more of this outrages prices honestly how can a MMJ patient get by on a fix income.2) MMJ Patients majority disable will struggle to grow their own medicine an have you seen the cost to set up I really don't see everyone doing this as an option especially with the risk involved for themselves an family members.3) Providers well what can you say but its all donation but then again really I mean really how many a nonprofit an if so were is the profit going remember this a penny on the dollar game.  That's why the mad rush for the green rush. Then maybe the insurance will cover this as it should be a medical expense an this is the first step.  Com on Good Medicine covered by insurance.  Go Green I thank the state of Washington and all advocates for MMJ..  Especial god for this wonderful medicinal plant Marijuana   lets leave the fear an embrace reality! 


Wed, 03/23/2011 - 11:04pm Permalink
Tony Aroma (not verified)



What's going on with the bill in WV?  I can't find any updates on it since its introduction.

Thu, 03/24/2011 - 2:45pm Permalink
Jeff Brown (not verified)

The states are definitely taking the lead in acknowledging that the majority of the people support medical marijuana . Fifteen states and the District of Washington DC , either  thru voter initiates or legislative acts have recognized medical marijuana and authorize its use in some fashion. Federal scheduling states that a schedule I substance has no medical use. Clearly marijuana does and it is past time for the feds to move marijuana to at least schedule II so that doctors can prescribe it. As a schedule II substance it will be much easier to do the research on this marvelous herb. For those that believe in God. (he/she) has created  the most useful plant on the planet. Not only medicine but food, clothing , shelter, energy. I was  taught that we were the freest country in the world. What gives?

Thu, 03/24/2011 - 6:01pm Permalink

Add new comment

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.
This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.