State lawmakers are considering legislation that could make it easier for more patients to qualify for Delaware’s medical cannabis program.
Legislation sponsored by State Sen. Anthony Delcollo (R-Elsmere) would leave it up to doctors to decide whether a patient’s condition would benefit from medical marijuana. Under the 2011 law, an oversight committee decides on qualifying conditions.
Delcollo’s bill would also allow all doctors to prescribe cannabis for minors, instead of just certain specialities. Patients under 18 years old would still only be able to get marijuana oil.
Delcollo said he believes physicians should decide if medical cannabis is right for their patients just as they do for every other prescription drug.
“Given the outcry that I heard of people who want to have this flexibility, people who need to be hopefully benefitted from this and not able to," he said. "My hope is that it’ll get this access to folks so they can be well.”
Zoe Patchell with the Delaware Cannabis Advocacy Network supports the bill and said it will likely make more conditions and patients eligible. But Patchell said patients right now are seeing medical marijuana shortages at the state’s dispensaries.
“Basically we’re hearing that the current dispensaries aren’t able to meet the demand of the over 6,500 current card-holding patients here in Delaware,” she said.
Patchell said she’s hopeful the dispensaries will increase production, more dispensaries will open and the state will fully legalize marijuana.
Delcollo said he believes the demand is already there, but some of the patients who would potentially qualify can’t access the program under the current law.