Laws surrounding CBD and marijuana can be complicated. States continue to struggle to establish their own rules, regulations, and boundaries about the elusive substance following the Federal Farm Bill of 2014—which legalized the industrial hemp industry in all fifty states. As state and federal law continues to shift, consumers may be fed conflicting information concerning the precise legal status of various types of CBD, cannabis, and hemp products.
States that have legalized hemp may also have developed or are in the process of developing their own regulations concerning the substance. Regulatory bodies may provide insight into the cultivation and growth of hemp. This general overview will cover regulation in the state of Delaware.
This guide should serve as a starting point for research into the legal status of these substances—but not an ending point. Readers are ultimately responsible for following all laws relevant to their CBD usage, including local, state, and federal regulations. This guide does not constitute legal advice, although its authors have made every attempt possible to ensure that the information cited is accurate and up-to-date.
Is CBD Legal in Delaware?
The good news for CBD users in Delaware is that the industrial hemp-derived CBD products that many consumers have come to love are completely legal within the state. There are just a few stipulations concerning the different THC contents exhibited by the CBD products, but for the most part, consumers can rejoice—CBD is legal in Delaware.
Delaware was quicker than most states when it came to the legalization of hemp-derived CBD oils. The state’s legislators passed House Bill 385 way back in 2014, legalizing hemp-derived CBD for all users above the age of eighteen in the states. Although there exists no Delaware adult-use, recreational marijuana as of the time of writing this guide, Delaware offers a medical marijuana program, as well as one of the most robust medical marijuana dispensary industries in the entire country.
Taken as a whole framework, the medical marijuana industry, and CBD legalization makes it possible for medical patients to acquire any type of CBD, while non-suffering CBD users can access low-THC CBD products. The distinction between these two remains exceedingly important to modern interpretations of Delaware CBD law.
CBD Rules in Delaware
Although the 2014 Delaware law made it legal for consumers to possess and purchase industrial hemp, Delaware remains relatively restrictive when it comes to who can grow and distribute industrial hemp itself. According to the 2014 legislation, industrial hemp can be grown only by accredited institutions, and only on the condition that they provide a definitive research plan, which can either be centered on academic research or agricultural research. Additionally, these growers must provide the location of their hemp field, as well as registration documents with the Delaware Department of Agriculture.
CBD with high THC content can only be acquired by patients who have a medical marijuana access card, which can only be issued by a licensed physician. Physicians may only issue these medical marijuana cards for a preapproved list of conditions, all of which the state has legally labeled as “chronic ailments.” Users interested in accessing medical marijuana from one of the state’s many dispensaries should inquire with their physician to see if their condition qualifies for the existing program.
Delaware Hemp Research Pilot Program
Like many other states that have legalized the substance, Delaware has its own hemp research pilot program. In March 2019, the Delaware Department of Agriculture announced the launch of a hemp research pilot program. The launch was made in partnership with the Delaware State University’s College of Agriculture and Related Sciences. Secretary of Agriculture Michael T. Scuse shared in the announcement that the research component will provide producers with an opportunity to determine if hemp is a worthwhile product for their farming operations, and that the program allows the research institutions to find out which varieties of hemp will perform well for production of fiber and CBD oil in the state.
The Delaware Department of Agriculture website indicates that hemp is Cannabis Sativa L. plant and any part, including the seeds. It also includes derivatives, extracts, cannabinoids, isomers, acids, salts, and salts of acids, that are growing or not, with no more than 0.3% THC on a dry weight basis. Further, hemp is considered an agricultural commodity in the state and is defined as a grain.
The Cultivation of Hemp for Academic Research
According to the website, Bill 266 allows hemp to be cultivated for academic or agricultural research, and these are the only ways that the production of hemp can occur in the state at this time. The Bill also provides the Delaware Department of Agriculture the authority to adopt policies and regulations that are necessary to permit hemp’s cultivation when federal law permits such beyond agriculture or academic research. The state is also required to receive approval from the USDA.
The website also provides the action that the state is taking concerning commercial hemp production. The Delaware Department of Agriculture convened an internal committee for the development of a state plan. It also met with stakeholders and conducted research to develop the plan. Interestingly, the website also indicates that commercial hemp production will not be able to occur in the state in 2019 due to a hold from the USDA. However, growers can produce hemp when affiliated with institutions of higher education or the Department.
The Hemp Research Pilot Program
The Department website also identifies information concerning the Delaware Hemp Research Pilot Program, which was established under 7606 o the 2014 Farm Bill and Senate Bill 266. According to the website, the program’s purpose is to enable growers to work with institutions of higher education so that they main become more knowledgeable in the cultivation, processing, harvesting, marketing and transport of hemp for the purpose of industrial, agriculture and commerce.
The website also makes clear that hemp cannot be grown in the state for general commercial activity, but only as part of a research program. In addition, the website indicates that those participating in the program are “able to sell their crop” if they meet all of the research requirements.
In a recent report by Delaware Real Estate News, the regulatory structure by the Delaware Department of Agriculture has disappointed some. According to the report, the regulations prevent commercial production of hemp for the 2019 growing season in favor of the Hemp Research Pilot Program The regulations and program requirements have been called “bureaucratic red tape” by Sam Chick, the owner of smoke and vape shop “Puffster.” Also, another farmer agreed in the report.