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State Rep. Ed Osienski files legislation to expand medical marijuana patient access

Updated: Jan 2

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With the legalization of recreational marijuana in Delaware earlier this year, Osienski says it was time to reevaluate the state’s medical marijuana program to make sure it was more accessible to patients.

House Bill 285 amends the current medical marijuana code to no longer require a “debilitating” medical condition to qualify. Instead, it would be up to a health care provider to determine if a patient would benefit from medical marijuana on a case-by-case basis.

“I think it’s a benefit for those that have the ailments that were listed, but now that we’re removing the list of ailments that qualify, that’s a big benefit. So right now, this legislation really focuses more on the improvements to the patient," Osienski says.

He adds patients would no longer have to pay for an annual doctor’s visit to renew their registry identification card. Instead, patients could receive a 1-, 2- or 3-year card at their initial appointment, or an indefinite card if diagnosed with a terminal illness.

Additionally, patients over the age of 65 would be able to self-certify for registry cards without healthcare provider approval and Osienski says the state’s marijuana commissioners are in support of it.

“They explained to me that they see the data proves that people 65 and older just aren’t using the medical cards as much as some of the younger folks, and they think it’s because they’re not comfortable having that conversation with their doctor," he says.

By registering for a medical marijuana card, senior patients would circumvent the 15% sales tax on recreational purchases.

The legislation also establishes reciprocity with other states, allowing out-of-state card holders who qualify under Delaware law to use that card in the First State.

The bill has been assigned to the House Health & Human Development Committee for consideration when the new legislative session starts next month.


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