Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Has Delaware Gone to Pot?

The Delaware General Assembly is reviewing a bi-partisan bill to allow for medicinal marijuana for medical patients.  Delaware Senate Bill 17 is sponsored by Sen. Margaret Rose Henry (D) and Rep. Helene Keely (D).  It also has co-sponsorship by Senators  Robert Marshall (D), Karen Peterson (D), Liane Sorenson (R); Representatives Michael Barbieri (D); Melanie George (D), John Kowalko (D), Nick Manalakos (R) Teresa Schooley (D), Michael Mulrooney (D), Bryan Short (D) John Viola (D).

The text of the bill:


Synopsis: This legislation is based on the Marijuana Policy Project’s model medical marijuana legislation. The Bill creates an exception to a state’s criminal laws to permit the doctor-recommended medical use of marijuana by patients with serious medical conditions. A patient would only be protected from arrest of controlled substance laws if his or her physician certifies, in writing, that the patient has a specified debilitating medical condition and that the patient would receive therapeutic benefit from medical marijuana. The patient would send a copy of the written certification to the state Department of Health and Social Services and the Department would issue an ID card after verifying the information. Police officers could verify an ID card’s validity with the Department. As long as the patient is in compliance with the law, there would be no arrest.

Patients would be allowed to possess up to 6 ounces for their medical use. Six ounces is less than the federal government has determined is a one-month supply for patients in the Compassionate Investigational New Drug Program.

The legislation allows them to designate a caregiver who would also receive an ID card. Each caregiver may assist no more than five qualifying patients.

The legislation would allow for the state-regulated, non-profit distribution of medical marijuana. The Department of Health and Social Services would issue registration certificates to qualified applicants, who would have to abide by the rules on security, recordkeeping, and oversight provided for by the model medical marijuana legislation, in addition to any additional rules that the Department may develop. All dispensaries would be subject to random inspection and all of their staff would have to register with the Department of health. It is important that the law provide for both caregivers and dispensaries, since patients in rural areas are unlikely to have access to dispensaries, and because many low-income patients will not be able to afford medical marijuana at dispensaries. In addition, very ill patients would need a caregiver to pick up their medicine for them.

The Bill maintains commonsense restrictions on the medical use of marijuana, including prohibitions on public use of marijuana and driving under the influence of marijuana. Employers are not required to allow patients to be impaired at work or to allow the possession of marijuana at a workplace. Insurance providers would not have to cover medical marijuana.
Is this really in the best interest of Delaware?  Should we not look at doctors who abuse their right to practice who will subscribe medical marijuana to patients on a whim?

Delaware also needs to be cognizant that most violent crime is attributed to drugs.  Will there be a rise in violent crime as a result?  Or more drug trafficking offenses by those who lawfully received a subscription to marijuana who need money due to the bad economy?

Please call your State Representative and State Senator and have them reject this bill.

1 comment:

  1. I have to disagree with you on this one. There is no evidence that Pot leads to violent behavior. In fact it seems to do the opposite. You can't just say drugs are bad. Some are bad; some are great. They save lives when used properly. This drug has been used improperly, but that is no reason to ban it from helping sick people. GOD put it here for our good not to get high. Let's use it right. Drugs are for sick people. Keeping doctors from finding the solution that helps their patient recover for poltical reasons strikes me as misplaced government over reach.

    My problem with this bill is that it is based model legislation that is not model in safeguards for the dispensaries. That was my problem before. I am alright with the concept, but the devil literally is in the details. This bill does not need to be rushed in the name of compassion.

    Still it interests me that the dispensaries would require more inspections and oversight than abortion mills. Yet we know which is more dangerous, it is the latter. Even if you ignore the latter kills one of two patients on purpose, women are being injured and dying as they become pawns in a dangerous game. More women died from abortions last year than pot.