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Delaware Expands Medical Cannabis Patient Access

A new law in Delaware will let physicians certify patients for medical cannabis even if they don’t have one of the state program’s qualifying conditions — patients thusly approved, however, must have a severe and debilitating condition and all standard care practices must be exhausted.

Full story after the jump.

Delaware Gov. John Carney (D) has signed a law allowing physicians to certify patients who do not have a qualifying condition under the state’s medical cannabis regulations, WBOC reports. Patients must have a severe and debilitating condition, there must be grounds that cannabis could provide a therapeutic benefit to the patient, and all standard care practices must be exhausted.

The measure also allows parents and guardians of patients under 18 to attest to the underage patient’s consent to try a medical treatment that does not have medical evidence of effectiveness – which includes cannabis.

A previous version of the bill would have allowed a physician to recommend a patient’s eligibility for medical cannabis for any condition if they believed it could benefit the patient.

In Delaware, patients with cancer, terminal illness, glaucoma, post-traumatic stress disorder, AIDS, ALS, and autism with aggressive behavior can qualify for medical cannabis use. In 2017, Carney signed a bill allowing PTSD patients to get medical cannabis certification from any properly licensed physician rather than just a licensed psychiatrist.

At the end of the last fiscal year, Delaware had issued 6,625 patient, caregiver, guardian, and agent registration cards – 85 percent more than in 2017; 4,389 of those were new patient cards, according to state Office of Medical Marijuana figures. The majority of the state’s patients are enrolled in the program for severe pain. According to the Dover Post, there were 7,370 medical cannabis cardholders in the state as of May.

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