Pennsylvania lawmakers legalized medical marijuana on April 6, 2016 to allow qualifying patients to treat their debilitating medical conditions with this previously forbidden plant. After two years of developing a regulatory framework for the medical marijuana program, Pennsylvania’s medical marijuana sales began on February 15, 2018.
Since then, patients have been able to purchase certain medical cannabis products, but not without a medical card. If you’re considering registering for Pennsylvania’s medical cannabis program, here’s how you can sign up with ease.
Benefits of a Medical Marijuana Card in Pennsylvania
Recreational cannabis use and sales are not legal in Pennsylvania at the moment. A medical cannabis card gives patients an opportunity to treat a range of disorders with multiple cannabis products. Without the card, qualifying patients must resort to traditional medication that can be inefficient or comes with severe side effects.
Pennsylvania makes it easy and affordable for qualifying patients to receive a card shortly after registering online. When you receive the card in the mail, you’re free to buy approved medical products without paying an excise tax.
Pennsylvania has an expansive list of medical conditions that qualify for the medical cannabis program. If you or someone you know has any of the following medical conditions, you or they can receive a medical marijuana card:
- Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis
- Anxiety disorders
- Cancer and remission therapy
- Crohn’s disease
- Nervous tissue damage in the central nervous system characterized by intractable spasticity and other relevant neuropathies
- Dyskinetic and spastic movement disorders
- Huntington’s disease
- Inflammatory bowel disease
- Intractable seizures
- Multiple sclerosis
- Neurodegenerative diseases
- Opioid use disorder when convention treatment hasn’t worked or when required with complementary therapies
- Parkinson’s disease
- Post-traumatic stress disorder
- Severe chronic or intractable pain, including of neuropathic origin
- Sickle cell anemia
- Terminal illness
- Tourette syndrome
Medical Card Application Process in Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania’s medical cannabis program allows qualifying patients to register online at the Medical Marijuana Registry. On the Pennsylvania Department of Health’s website, you can create a profile for patients, including minors, and caregivers. Under Adult Patient Registration, you will need to provide your name, date of birth, driver’s license or state ID number, contact information, and address.
After registering with the Department of Health, you can seek a physician’s medical marijuana recommendation if you have a qualifying medical condition. Keep in mind, only approved physicians can provide medical cannabis recommendations. If you want to find an approved physician, check out the state’s list of approved physicians on their website.
Once you’ve obtained your physician’s recommendation, you can complete your registration online. Make sure to submit electronic copies of your required documentation including ID and a photograph. Pay with a Visa or Mastercard and await your results within a few weeks.
A Pennsylvania medical cannabis card is $50. Patients on Medicaid, PACE/PACENET, CHIP, SNAP, or WIC can qualify for a fee reduction. Medical cannabis cards are effective for one year. When it’s time to renew, you’ll receive an email that will allow you to pay the annual fee and keep the card active.
Buying and Growing Medical Marijuana
A Pennsylvania medical marijuana card allows you to purchase medical cannabis from any dispensary in the state. Currently, medical cannabis delivery services and home cultivation are not allowed. Patients with a card can buy cannabis-infused pills, oils, topicals, tinctures, liquids, or any form that can be vaporized or nebulized. That means that cannabis flower buds for smoking are not for sale. Luckily, customers don’t have to pay an excise tax on their purchases. Patients can purchase a 30-day supply of cannabis products.
If you need assistance acquiring medical marijuana, you can designate up to two caregivers to assist you. Caregivers must register with the Medical Marijuana Registry. Caregivers must complete a background check to ensure they have not been convicted of a drug-related offense in the last five years. If approved, caregivers can provide assistance to up to five patients.
Caregivers must adhere to the following conditions:
- Must be at least 21 years old (email [email protected] if you are under 21 years old and wish to provide assistance to a patient)
- Must be a Pennsylvania resident
Minors must have a caregiver obtain marijuana for them. Additionally, adults who are home-bound or adults who benefit from assistance can have a caregiver. These three types of patients do not require a medical card, since they won’t be visiting a dispensary. If you want to be a caregiver for a minor, but are not their parent, you must be designated as a third-party caregiver and complete a specific form.
Out-of-state patients can’t legally purchase medical cannabis in Pennsylvania. The state does not have reciprocity laws for other medical programs. The only way to obtain medical cannabis in Pennsylvania is to be a resident and have a qualifying medical condition.
Pennsylvania’s medical cannabis program provides a wide range of patients with access to safe and effective medical marijuana. Patients can choose from many cannabis products and consume them in the privacy of their homes. Once you have your medical cannabis card, ensure you’re following all the rules in order to safely and effectively improve your medical condition.
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