Delaware Bill Expanding Medical Pot Program Stalls in Senate

A bill expanding the permissible uses for medical marijuana in Delaware has stalled in the state Senate.

The bill failed to win Senate passage Tuesday after several lawmakers noted that they were told after a committee hearing last month that it would be amended to address concerns from the medical industry about some of its provisions. No amendment was added, however.

The bill adds debilitating anxiety to the list of conditions and illnesses for which medical marijuana can be prescribed. The anxiety definition includes generalized anxiety disorder, panic disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and social anxiety.

The bill also removes the requirement for a psychiatrist to sign an application for someone seeking to use medical marijuana for post-traumatic stress disorder. Instead, any physician would be allowed to verify the application.

Despite the setback, Delaware lawmakers are still rolling out legislation that could make recreational cannabis legal for adults over the age of 21. The House Revenue and Finance Committee overwhelmingly approved a plan last week to legalize adult-use marijuana. House Bill 110 will likely move to a full house vote sometime next month.


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Gov. John Carney has remained silent on the issue, but invited advocates and patients to a roundtable discussion in April. He told those present that he was “there to listen” and will carefully consider all perspectives before making any decision on pursuing recreational cannabis legislation.

All of this could be in question, however, after President Donald Trump appeared to backpedal on his support for medical marijuana, which he touted during the presidential campaign season.

In a signing statement issued earlier this month, Trump objected to a provision that prohibits the federal government from interfering in state-run medicinal cannabis programs.

States were essentially given autonomy to enforce their own pot laws in a memorandum issued by former Deputy Attorney General James Cole in 2013. The memo shifted enforcement priorities from the federal level to local law enforcement.

But current Attorney General Jeff Sessions is already taking the opposite approach. He instructed federal prosecutors to crack down on drug offenses and created a task force to toughen up on enforcement.