Since January, state lawmakers of Delaware have quashed criminal penalties for simple possession of marijuana and minors are allowed to partake in the state’s medical marijuana program. In an unprecedented move which they have done more quietly, lawmakers voted to establish a legal framework that allows facilities in Delaware to conduct research on the potential benefits of marijuana for medical purposes.

The legislation came more than four years after the General Assembly voted to legalize medical marijuana, but only days after the first marijuana dispensary opened in an industrial park west in Wilmington. The move provided Delaware with the opportunity to be in the forefront of pioneering research on medical cannabis.

Marijuana advocates praised the legislation, signed by Gov. Jack Markell, which allows facilities that meet U.S. Food and Drug Administration standards to initiate research on potential medical benefits of the drug. The research shall also include demonstrations of safety and efficacy for treatment of medical conditions that often fail to respond to conventional treatment.

Recently, the federal government removed barriers to medical marijuana research and the Obama administration decided that medical marijuana research no longer require review by the Public Health Services. The U.S. FDA, however, must review research plans.

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