The State Board has approved and released the following resolution in support of SB 60.
In accordance with our recent endorsement of HB150 legalizing cannabis in the State of Delaware, the Libertarian Party of Delaware also offers its support to the passage of SB60 by the Delaware House of Representatives and for its prompt signature by Governor Carney. This bill unanimously passed the Delaware Senate on March 23rd and was released by the House Health & Human Development Committee on March 31st, and it now awaits a vote by the House. We call on Speaker of the House Representative Pete Schwartzkopf to schedule this bill for a vote and for all Representatives to support it.
SB60 would expand the medicinal cannabis program in Delaware, first passed in 2011, to allow Nurse Practitioners and Physician Assistants to recommend medicinal cannabis to adult patients. In concert with the amendment also passed unanimously by the Senate, it would likewise allow Pediatric Psychiatrists and Developmental Pediatricians to recommend medicinal cannabis to pediatric patients. SB59 from the previous legislative session with a similar goal was allowed to die in the Senate Health & Social Services Committee, leaving the issue to fester while a shortage of primary care physicians throughout the state left many patients unable to get an appointment with a qualified care provider to recommend an appropriate treatment. This fix has waited long enough.
Delaware already allows medical practitioners with these qualifications to prescribe highly addictive opiate based drugs, contributing to the crisis of opiate addiction throughout our state. Allowing these same practitioners to recommend cannabis instead would not only remove an unwarranted political obstacle between patients and their health care providers, but would allow patients who cannot wait for their overburdened primary care physician to recommend cannabis for them under current law to avoid the risks and challenges that would result from an unnecessary opiate prescription from the more accessible Nurse Practitioners and Physician Assistants, while also allowing qualified pediatric providers to make recommendations for patients under 18.
Along with this expansion of access to medicinal cannabis, the Libertarian Party of Delaware also calls for a renewal of SB79 from the previous legislative session. This bill was similarly passed with the votes of every Senator present and released from the House Committee before languishing on the Ready List waiting for Speaker Schwartzkopf to schedule a vote. It would have further expanded access to medicinal cannabis by allowing qualified patients to continue possessing firearms without being subject to arrest and a felony conviction as a “person prohibited” under state law. Medical patients taking other far more dangerous and addictive medications do not have to choose between their health and their right to self defense, and medicinal cannabis patients shouldn’t either.
The Libertarian Party of Delaware supports the complete legalization of cannabis for medical and recreational purposes, as well as home cultivation and unlicensed retail sale, but in the meantime any step towards expanding access and reducing the involvement of law enforcement is a step in the right direction, and one we encourage the General Assembly to take and to take quickly.