Delaware Marijuana Laws

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Marijuana is regulated by both state and federal law. In Delaware, marijuana is classed as a Schedule I controlled substance, which means that the drug has a high potential for abuse, and has no currently accepted medical use. (Del. Health & Safety Code § 4714.)

Possession of marijuana for personal use (or for manufacture or sale); or selling or manufacturing marijuana, is a crime in Delaware. Delaware imposes a range of penalties according to the violation. (Del. Health & Safety Code § 4752.)There may be some exceptions to the following laws for medical marijuana possession and use. And, while not covered below, it is also a crime to drive under the influence of marijuana in Delaware.

To learn more about Delaware DUI marijuana laws, see Driving Under the Influence of Marijuana in Delaware.

To learn about Delaware's medical marijuana laws, see Delaware Medical Marijuana Laws.

Possession for Personal or Other Use

Marijuana possession is a crime in Delaware. The penalties depend on the amount possessed, and whether there are any aggravating factors.

Possession for personal use. Knowingly possessing, using, or consuming any amount of marijuana (even small amounts for personal use) is an unclassified misdemeanor, punishable with up to three months in jail and a fine of up to $575. (Del. Health & Safety Code § 4764(b).)

Aggravated possession, use, or consumption. Knowingly possessing, using, or consuming any amount of marijuana with one "aggravating factor" is a class B misdemeanor, punishable with up to six months in jail, a fine of up to $1,150, or other conditions ordered by the judge. Aggravating factors include offenses committed in school zones, parks or recreation areas; fleeing law enforcement; offenses involving a minor younger than 18 and who was at least four years younger than the offender; or other factors that the judge may consider.(Del. Health & Safety Code § 4751A.)(Del. Health & Safety Code § 4764(a).)

Possession of 3,000 grams or more. A person who possesses 3,000 grams of marijuana or more (or 1,500 grams or more, when there are two or more aggravating factors), for any reason, is guilty of a class B felony, punishable with between two and 25 years in prison. (Del. Health & Safety Code § 4752(c),(d),&(e).)

Manufacture and Distribution

It is illegal to manufacture or sell marijuana in Delaware, or to knowingly maintain a property on which these activities take place. Penalties vary according to the amount manufactured or sold, and whether the crime included any aggravating factors.

Possession of 3,000 grams or more. A person who possesses 3,000 grams of marijuana or more (or 1,500 grams or more, when there are two or more aggravating factors), for any reason, including sale, is guilty of a class B felony, punishable with between two and 25 years in prison. (Del. Health & Safety Code § 4752(c),(d),&(e).)

Manufacture or distribution of 4,000 grams or more. A person who cultivates, processes, or distributes 4,000 grams of marijuana or more (or 1,500 grams or more, when there is one aggravating factor), is guilty of a class B felony, punishable with between two and 25 years in prison. This crime also includes offenders who possess such amounts of marijuana with the intent to cultivate, process, or distribute it. (Del. Health & Safety Code § 4752(a)&(b).)

Maintaining a drug property. Owners, landlords, and tenants of any building in Delaware may not knowingly consent to or use the property to cultivate, manufacture, or store marijuana, or use it as a point from which to distribute marijuana or other drugs. Violations are a class F felony, punishable with up to three years in prison. (Del. Health & Safety Code § 4760.)

Drug Paraphernalia

It is illegal in Delaware to possess, use, manufacture, sell, or deliver drug paraphernalia. (Del. Health & Safety Code § 4771.) Penalties vary according to the violation.

Possession and use. Violators are guilty of a class B misdemeanor, punishable with up to six months in jail, a fine of up to $1,150, or other conditions ordered by the judge.

Manufacture and sale. Violators are guilty of a class G felony, punishable with up to two years in prison.

Delivery to a minor. A person older than 18 who sells or delivers drug paraphernalia to a minor younger than 18 is guilty of a class E felony, punishable with up to five years in prison.

Advertising. It is illegal to advertise the sale of drug paraphernalia. Doing so is an unclassified misdemeanor, punishable with up to three months in jail and a fine of up to $575. (Del. Health & Safety Code § 4774.)

First Offender Diversion Program

In Delaware, a person who has not previously been convicted of any marijuana or drug-related crime may enter a guilty plea as a first offender, and submit to at least one and a half years of probation (with the following conditions).

  • Driver’s license revocation. The judge will revoke a first offender’s license for at least six months, or up to the entire period of probation.
  • Community service. The first offender will have to serve a minimum of 20 hours of court-monitored community service.
  • 16 hour first offender drug rehabilitation program. The first offender must successfully complete such a program.
  • Other terms and conditions. The judge may impose other terms and conditions that the first offender will have to meet as part of the offender’s probation period.

When the defendant successfully completes the probation period, by complying with its terms and conditions, the court will dismiss the criminal proceedings. The offender’s record will not show any criminal charges, but the Attorney General will keep a confidential list of people who have taken part in the first offender program, because a person may participate in this kind of discharge and dismissal only once.

If the offender violates any terms or conditions of the probation, or violates any additional drug laws during the probation period, the court will find the offender guilty of the original offense, and proceed with punishment for the crimes charged (as described above). (Del. Health & Safety Code § 4767.)

An Important Note on Local Legal Representation

If you have been charged with a marijuana-related offense, consult an experienced criminal defense attorney. While the penalties and consequences of a marijuana charge are governed by statutory law, only a local criminal defense attorney can tell you how cases like yours tend to be handled by prosecutors and judges in your courthouse.

by: , Contributing Author

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