Medical marijuana became legal in Pennsylvania on April 6, 2016 when Governor Wolf signed the bill into law. Nearly two years later on February 15, 2018, medical marijuana was first made available to patients through state-licensed dispensaries.
Patients spent $132 million on medical marijuana in the first full year of sales, and the program is expected to grow in the coming years. The state plans to license many more dispensaries to dispense the medication in the future, and more physicians are expected to become certified to recommend medical marijuana to patients who qualify.
As more Pennsylvanians become interested in the state’s medical marijuana program, it is important to understand how to go about getting registered as a patient. Below you will find an easy to understand step-by-step guide for how to get a medical marijuana card in Pennsylvania.
Do you qualify for medical marijuana in Pennsylvania?
In order to apply for a medical marijuana card, a patient must first suffer from one of the 21 debilitating conditions which qualify for the herbal medication in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.
The following conditions currently qualify for medical cannabis in Pennsylvania:
- Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS)
- Cancer, including remission therapy
- Crohn’s disease
- Damage to the nervous tissue of the central nervous system (brain-spinal cord)
- Dyskinetic and spastic movement disorders
- HIV / AIDS
- Huntington’s disease
- Inflammatory bowel disease
- Intractable seizures
- Multiple sclerosis
- Neurodegenerative diseases
- Opioid use disorder
- Parkinson’s disease
- Post-traumatic stress disorder
- Severe chronic or intractable pain of neuropathic origin or severe chronic or intractable pain
- Sickle cell anemia
- Terminal illness
Refer to the Department of Health’s website for changes and updates in approved conditions.
Once you’ve checked the list and determined that you do in fact suffer from one of the conditions listed above, you may begin the steps of the registration process.
Complete The Online Patient Registration Form
Even before you make an appointment with your doctor, you must first fill out the online patient registration form. Click here to be redirected to the medical marijuana registry on the Pennsylvania Department of Health website.
The patient registration form asks for basic personal information like full name, date of birth, ID number, mailing address, phone number, and email.
Get Certified By A Registered Physician
Not all doctors in Pennsylvania are registered to recommend medical marijuana, so be sure to make an appointment with one that can. Click here to see the list of doctors who have registered for the program.
Once the state-approved physician certifies that you do in fact suffer from a qualifying condition and that you may benefit from the use of medical marijuana, he or she will upload the certification directly to your patient profile in the medical marijuana registry.
Pay Medical Marijuana Patient ID Card Fee
After the physician has certified that you qualify for the medical marijuana program, you must finalize the process by logging back into your patient profile to pay for your ID card. The cost is $50, and the card will remain valid for one year. There are payment assistance programs available for patients who are unable to pay the full $50.
Each patient may select up to two caregivers to be permitted to purchase medical marijuana for them from a dispensary. Caregivers must submit to a thorough background check and agree to provide their fingerprints to the state before they can be approved to purchase medical marijuana for a patient.
Find A Dispensary
Medical marijuana dispensaries are distributed throughout the state. Click here to find the dispensary that is nearest to you. Some dispensaries may require an appointment for your first visit, so call ahead to see what you need to do.
At the dispensary, you will be required to show your government issued identification card along with your medical marijuana patient registration card in order to make a purchase. Remember that you will most likely be required to pay for your medical marijuana in cash and plan accordingly. Only card-holding patients and caregivers will be permitted to enter the dispensary.