• The production of hemp-derived CBD is legal in Delaware under the 2014 House Bill 385(1). The medical use of marijuana is also legal in the state under the Delaware Marijuana Act of 2011(2).
  • In Delaware, it is legal to use marijuana to treat patients with a wide range of serious medical conditions, including cancer, cirrhosis, Alzheimer’s disease, and other terminal illnesses(3).
  • Under the 2014 Delaware House Bill 385, it is legal to grow and cultivate industrial hemp for research purposes in the state. The bill marked the legalization of CBD in the state(4).
  • The Delaware Department of Agriculture awards licenses to industrial hemp producers and growers in the state.

Growing industrial hemp in Delaware is legal under the 2014 House Bill 385.

Under federal and state legislation, hemp is defined as a cannabis plant with no more than 0.30% tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). THC is a compound in the cannabis plant that produces psychoactive effects.

For decades, federal law lumped hemp with other cannabis varieties, which were all made illegal in 1937 under the Marijuana Tax Act. Hemp and marijuana products were formally made illegal in 1970 when lawmakers passed the Controlled Substances Act

Currently, the use of medical marijuana is also legal in the state of Delaware. Under the 2011 Delaware Medical Marijuana Act, marijuana may be used to treat various medical conditions specified in the legislation.

The possession of small amounts of marijuana is also decriminalized in the state. Signed into law in 2015, Delaware House Bill 39 states that an individual caught with a personal-use quantity of marijuana must only be fined without facing a criminal penalty.

The legislation defines the personal-use quantity of marijuana as one ounce or less.

Although medical marijuana use is legal, the recreational use of cannabis is still illegal in the state(5).

Delaware CBD Laws

2014 Delaware House Bill 385

The 2014 Delaware House Bill 385 changed the legal status of industrial hemp cultivation in Delaware

The bill authorized the growth and cultivation of industrial hemp by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and higher education institutions for research purposes(6). To be a hemp producer or grower in Delaware, an individual must be certified by the USDA.

The Delaware Marijuana Act of 2011

The Delaware Medical Marijuana Act legalized the use of medical marijuana in the state. The 2011 legislation allowed marijuana use for the following medical conditions(7):

  • Terminal illness
  • Cancer
  • Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)
  • Acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS)
  • Decompensated cirrhosis
  • Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis
  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Intractable epilepsy
  • Seizure disorder
  • Glaucoma
  • Chronic debilitating migraines

The law also permits the use of marijuana and marijuana-derived products to treat medical conditions with the following symptoms:

  • Cachexia or wasting syndrome
  • Severe, debilitating pain unresponsive to prescribed medication or surgical measures 
  • Intractable nausea
  • Seizures
  • Severe and persistent muscle spasms

The legislation also includes a provision allowing for the addition of other medical conditions to the list.

Patients taking marijuana for treatment and their caregivers may receive an identification card or a medical marijuana card to possess six ounces or less of usable marijuana.

The legislation marked the legalization of the possession of marijuana seeds and stalks for patients and caregivers. Giving marijuana to registered patients and their designated caregivers is also legal under the legislation. 

However, the law comes with several restrictions. It does not authorize the recreational use of marijuana, driving under the influence of marijuana, and providing marijuana to those who are not registered.

Rylie’s Law (2015 Senate Bill 90)

The 2015 Senate Bill 90, also known as Rylie’s Law, added intractable epilepsy to the debilitating medical conditions that allow medical marijuana treatment(8).

The bill specifically added disorders characterized by involuntary muscle contractions that result in slow movements or abnormal postures. 

Lawmakers named the law after a young girl, Rylie Maedler, who discovered that she had Aggressive Giant Cell Granuloma (AGCG) in 2014. AGCG is a rare degenerative bone disease that causes tumors to eat away at the bones.

Maedler’s mother, Janie, tried giving her cannabis oil after reading online that the product might help with tumors.

Maedler is now a pediatric cannabis activist, president of Rylie’s Smile Foundation, and CEO of her own CBD brand, Rylie’s Sunshine.

2015 Delaware House Bill 39 (2015 DE HB39)

Former Rep. Helene Keeley, D-Wilmington, introduced the 2015 House Bill 39 in January 2015 and former Delaware Gov. Jack Markell signed it into law in June 2015. The bill decriminalized the possession of a personal-use quantity of marijuana, defined as one ounce or less.

Marijuana advocates backed the bill, while law enforcement officials criticized the proposal. 

With the new legislation, law enforcers may not criminally penalize an individual with a personal-use quantity of marijuana(9). Law enforcers may only fine the accused and confiscate their drugs.

Meanwhile, an individual with more than an ounce of marijuana may be penalized through an unclassified misdemeanor record, a $575 fine, and a three-month prison sentence. 

However, the bill is not retroactive, meaning the bill does not remove past arrests for marijuana possession from an individual’s criminal record.

2018 Delaware Senate Bill 266 (2018 DE SB266)

The 2018 Senate Bill 266 legalized the cultivation of hemp for agricultural or academic research in Delaware(10). The 149th General Assembly signed the bill into law on August 28, 2018.

With the passage of SB 266, the Delaware Department of Agriculture (DDA) may implement regulations to permit hemp cultivation.

The legislation was passed so Delaware can permit hemp cultivation once federal restrictions were repealed. However, following federal regulations, Delaware and other states still have to secure approval from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).

In January 2020, the Department of Agriculture approved the state’s request to establish a Domestic Hemp Production Program. With the USDA approval, the DDA assumes the primary regulatory responsibility for hemp production within the state.

Licensing Requirements

The DDA must license individuals and businesses to cultivate and grow industrial hemp for CBD. Once DDA-licensed, these applicants must submit samples to the DDA for regulatory testing.

In Delaware, the USDA greenlighted the Delaware Domestic Hemp Production Program that legalized hemp cultivation. The program awards licenses to individuals or businesses that aim to grow, cultivate, or distribute hemp.

The requirements below are from the DDA’s website(11).

To apply, hemp producers must complete the application and growing site registration for indoor and outdoor growing sites. The application costs $300. 

Producers must also submit their criminal history records, including fingerprint information and criminal background check from the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).

These hemp producers should also complete a Growing Site Registration that costs $500. To register their sites, producers must submit a map that indicates their site location, complete with GPS coordinates.

Testing Requirements

The DDA also collects one regulatory sample per lot for testing. The producers must submit a sample to the department within 15 days of harvest. 

Hemp producers are allowed to collect and test their samples anytime at their own expense. However, the sample submitted to the department is the only sample to be used for regulatory purposes.

To submit a sample, licensed hemp producers must complete the sampling request form 30 days before the expected harvest date. The early request allows the department to have more time to schedule a date to collect the sample.

Hemp producers may email the sampling request to the department to [email protected]delaware.gov.

Test samples include the plants’ uppermost buds and buds from the upper third of the plant. The size of the sample is based on lot size and plant number. 

The sampling tests have four phases: pre-harvest sample collection, post-harvest sample collection, re-sample collection, and testing. Hemp producers must pay $350 for each sample at the time of the sample request.

The sample tests include analysis of post decarboxylated delta9-tetrahydrocannabinol concentration. The department may send the sample test results to the licensed producer by email or mail.

If test results show a post decarboxylated delta9-THC concentration of more than 0.3%, the licensed hemp producer may request a retest of the sample. The producer may also opt to provide a new sample for testing.

Buying CBD Legally

How to Choose Which CBD Products to Buy

In Delaware, buying hemp-derived CBD products is legal as long as it contains less than 0.30% THC(12)

However, it is important to purchase from licensed dispensaries only. In Delaware, distributing CBD products requires a license from the Delaware Domestic Hemp Production Program(13).

CBD users in Delaware have access to a wide range of CBD products from various CBD retailers. Most of the products offered include CBD oil, CBD oral drops, CBD vape juices, CBD topicals, and CBD edibles.

Here are some of the most important things to remember when seeking high-quality CBD products:

  • Check if the CBD products are third-party lab-tested to ensure quality and safety
  • Product labels should be detailed and match the information written on the Certificate of Analysis (COA)
  • The brand must provide a detailed description of product information on the website
  • Check the reviews from users of the product to know how the product affected other users

The Better Business Bureau (BBB) sets standards for proper business behavior and monitors compliance. In Delaware, the First State Compassion Center, a medical marijuana dispensary, is accredited by the bureau.

Where to Buy CBD Products Legally

Because Delaware’s medical marijuana program legalized medical marijuana use in the state, there are several CBD shops in Delaware where interested buyers may purchase legal products.

The First State Compassion Center is located at 37 Germay Dr, Wilmington, Delaware 1980. Although accredited by the BBB, the dispensary has two customer complaints on the BBB website.

Another CBD popular retailer in the state is VapeEscape. Founded in 2014, VapeEscape offers over 1,000 vape juice flavors, and the shop has a self-serving tasting bar. 

Aside from selling vape juices, the brand offers CBD in liquid, wax, edibles, and teas. 

Their shop is open from 10:00 AM to 9:00 PM from Mondays to Saturdays, from 11:00 AM to 5:00 PM on Sundays. VapeEscape is headquartered at 5321 Concord Pike, Wilmington, Delaware, 19803.

Although still not accredited by the BBB, VapeEspape has no customer complaints on the BBB website as of November 2020.

CBD buyers may also purchase CBD online. Most CBD brands have online shops to allow users to buy their products conveniently.

To purchase CBD oil online, buyers must provide their delivery information and pay at the checkout page. 

Medical and Recreational Use of Marijuana in Delaware

Because of the legalized medical use of marijuana in the state, Delaware has dispensaries that allow individuals with the following chronic ailments to register as a patient for treatment:

  • Chronic pain 
  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • Nausea 
  • Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS)
  • Cachexia 
  • Cancer 
  • Hepatitis C 
  • Intractable epilepsy 
  • HIV/AIDS 
  • PTSD
  • Autism  
  • Persistently severe muscle spasms 
  • Seizures

Although the medical use of marijuana is legal, recreational marijuana and marijuana possession of large quantities are still banned in Delaware. In Delaware, there are strict penalties for breaking regulations about the recreational use of marijuana.

Understanding CBD

What Is CBD?

Cannabidiol (CBD) is a compound found in hemp along with other phytocannabinoids, like cannabichromene (CBC) and cannabigerol (CBG). Unlike THC, CBD possesses no psychoactive properties.

CBD has gained popularity over the years after medical researchers discovered its health benefits. A 2018 study stated that CBD had potent anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties(14).

Although usually derived from the cannabis plant’s indica strain, CBD is also present in the sativa strain of the cannabis plant.

CBD typically comes from the flowers and leaves of the hemp plant. Hemp has cannabinoids that pass the human body’s endocannabinoid system (ECS), a biological system made up of a vast network of receptors.

ECS helps the body maintain overall wellness and keep several physical processes functioning correctly.

Most CBD brands mix CBD with tincture carrier oils to produce CBD oils. These companies commonly use hempseed oil, while others use medium-chain triglyceride (MCT) oils.

Aside from CBD oils, CBD gummies, teas, vape juice, topicals, and capsules proliferate the market. Hemp oil may also be whole-plant CBD or full-spectrum CBD, CBD isolates, or broad-spectrum CBD.

What Are the Types of CBD?

Full-Spectrum CBD

Full-spectrum CBD or whole plant CBD contains the full chemical profile of raw hemp material. A product with full-spectrum CBD possesses various cannabinoids, including THC, the main psychoactive component of the cannabis plant.

However, most full-spectrum CBD products usually contain only trace amounts of THC.

Aside from the psychoactive phytocannabinoid, other compounds retained include terpenes, flavonoids, fatty acids, and other plant material.

Most CBD users opt for a full-spectrum CBD product for its “entourage effect,” which pertains to the collaborative effect between the cannabinoids and other hemp components to provide better results.

Broad-Spectrum CBD

Broad-spectrum CBD consists of various compounds from hemp plants. However, broad-spectrum CBD products do not contain THC

CBD Isolate

CBD isolate products are products that contain pure CBD alone. Other compounds from hemp plants are removed from the product.

Conclusion

The use of CBD is legal in the state of Delaware after lawmakers passed House Bill 385. Four years later, hemp-derived CBD production also became legal after former President Donald Trump signed the Farm Bill in 2018. 

Marijuana laws in Delaware also legalized the use of medical marijuana. Patients and caregivers only have to be registered in the state to possess six ounces of the substance legally.

However, the recreational use of marijuana is still illegal and subject to criminal penalties in the state.

CBD users are advised to read up on state laws about CBD’s legality before purchasing and using CBD products. Although federally legal, CBD is still illegal in some states, including South Dakota and Hawaii(15).

CBD is also still unregulated by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA).


  1. Delaware General Assembly. House Bill 385, 147th General Assembly (2013 – 2014). Retrieved from https://legis.delaware.gov/BillDetail?legislationId=23051
  2. State of Delaware – Delaware Code Online. CHAPTER 49A. The Delaware Medical Marijuana Act. Retrieved from https://delcode.delaware.gov/title16/c049a/index.shtml
  3. Ibid
  4. Delaware General Assembly. House Bill 385, 147th General Assembly (2013 – 2014). Op cit.
  5. Hemppedia. Is CBD legal in all 50 states? – The complete 2020 Guide. Retrieved from https://hemppedia.org/cbd-oil-legal-us/
  6. Delaware General Assembly. House Bill 385, 147th General Assembly (2013 – 2014). Op cit.
  7. State of Delaware – Delaware Code Online. op cit.
  8. LegiScan. Delaware Senate Bill 90. Retrieved from https://legiscan.com/DE/bill/SB90/2015
  9. Delaware General Assembly. House Bill 39, 148th General Assembly (2015 – 2016). Retrieved from https://legis.delaware.gov/BillDetail?legislationId=23866
  10. Delaware Department of Agriculture. 2020 Hemp Program. Retrieved from https://agriculture.delaware.gov/plant-industries/hemp-program/
  11. Ibid
  12. Delaware General Assembly. House Bill 385, 147th General Assembly (2013 – 2014). Op cit.
  13. Delaware Department of Agriculture. op cit.
  14. Kogan, M. & Mechoulam, R. (2018). Cannabinoids in health and disease. Dialogues in Clinical Neuroscience, 412-430.  https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3202504/
  15. Hemppedia. op cit.
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