WILMINGTON, DE — After nearly four years and numerous delays, access to medical marijuana is coming to Delaware on June 26 when the state’s first — and only — dispensary is expected to open.
First State Compassion Center, located in an industrial park on the outskirts of Wilmington, will open its doors at 10:30 am on June 26. Patient orientations are planned for June 18 and June 19 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
An estimated 340 Delaware residents have been approved to use medical marijuana in the state, although the First State Compassion Center’s opening will mark the first time those patients have legal, safe access to medical marijuana in the First State.
Medical marijuana patients are currently protected from prosecution for possessing cannabis, but can not grow their own and must purchase marijuana on the black market.
“We’re thrilled there’s finally going to be some access for patients in Delaware,” Robert Capecchi, deputy director of state policies for the Marijuana Policy Project. “For really sick people, this could mean all the difference in the world.”
Medical marijuana was legalized in Delaware in 2011, when Gov. Jack Markell signed Senate Bill 17 into law. As passed by the legislature, the law required one dispensary per county. However, implementation was stalled in early 2012 when Gov. Markell received a letter from the U.S. Attorney’s office threatening federal intervention.
In 2013, the governor finally agreed to move forward with a single pilot center, and a limit of 150 plants per dispensary.
Capecchi added that the state should work to open dispensaries in each county, as required under Delaware’s medical marijuana law.
First State Compassion Center will be expected to supply all medical marijuana patients in the state, but they are limited to cultivating only 150 plants and can not keep more than 1,500 ounces of marijuana on hand.
Currently, there are no plans for the state to open additional dispensaries or cultivation sites.