How To Get A Medical Marijuana Card in Pennsylvania 2022

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In Growing Marijuana in Pennsylvania – PA Cannabis State Laws (2021) we gave a brief overview on how Pennsylvania residents can apply to their state’s medical marijuana program. Recreational marijuana is still illegal in The Keystone State so if you are a patient with a debilitating condition, you will need to apply for a medical marijuana card.

Overview of Medical Marijuana in Pennsylvania

In 2016, Gov. Tom Wolf signed into law SB 3 which legalized the possession and use, but not the cultivation of medical marijuana. 

You can read up on the rules here: PA SB3 2015-2016 – Compassionate Medical Cannabis legislation

In Pennsylvania, registered patients may buy up to a 90-day supply of medical marijuana which can be in the form of flowers, creams, gels, liquids, oils, ointments, pills, or tinctures. This amount is determined and recorded by the dispensary.

Qualifying conditions

In Pennsylvania, patients may qualify for medical marijuana if they have at least one “serious medical condition” listed below:

  • ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease)
  • Anxiety disorders
  • Autism
  • Cancer, including remission therapy
  • Crohn’s disease
  • Damage to the nervous tissue of the central nervous system (brain-spinal cord) with objective neurological indication of intractable spasticity and other associated neuropathies
  • Dyskinetic/spastic movement disorders
  • Epilepsy
  • Glaucoma
  • HIV/AIDS
  • Huntington’s disease
  • Inflammatory bowel disease
  • Intractable seizures
  • Intractable spasticity
  • Multiple Sclerosis
  • Opioid dependency
  • Neurodegenerative disorders
  • Neuropathies
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder
  • Sickle cell anemia
  • Severe chronic or intractable pain
  • Terminal illness (defined as 12 months or fewer to live)
  • Tourette syndrome

Other conditions may be added to this list as long as they are recommended by the Pennsylvania Medical Marijuana Program advisory board and approved by the secretary.

Even patients under 18 afflicted with a qualifying condition that needs medical marijuana can register for the program, as long as they do so with the help of a caregiver. Minors may designate up to two caregivers.

Caregivers

Pennsylvania is one of the few remaining states that does not allow patients to grow their own medical marijuana so the only duty of the caregiver will be to buy and transport marijuana for the patient from the dispensary. A caregiver may service up to 5 patients.

The rules for applying as a medical marijuana caregiver in Pennsylvania are fairly simple and applicants only need to be a PA resident at least 21 years old. They should not have been convicted of a criminal offense relating to the sale or possession of drugs, narcotics or controlled substances within the last five years. There are 4 caregiver registration options available in the portal:

  • Adult patient caregiver registration
  • Caregiver registering for an existing patient
  • Caregiver registering for a new patient
  • DOH-approved caregiver registration

Why should you get a medical marijuana card in Pennsylvania?

Recreational marijuana is still illegal in Pennsylvania, so patients who need medical marijuana for their serious medical condition have no choice but to register into the state’s medical marijuana program.

How to get a medical marijuana card in Pennsylvania

The process of getting an Pennsylvania medical marijuana ID is fairly simple and can be done online. Here are steps you need to take to apply to the program:

  1. Create an account on the Pennsylvania Medical Marijuana Program Registry portal. Patients, caregivers, and even providers may submit their registration requirements here. Make sure you have a copy of your Pennsylvania driver’s license or a Pennsylvania state issued ID card ready for upload.

Minor patients who do not have a driver’s license have to be registered under their caregiver. If the caregiver is not the minor’s parent or legal guardian or spouse, they have to submit an ‘authorization to designate a third-party caregiver’ form that can be downloaded from the caregiver’s profile. 

  1. Get a certification from an approved practitioner. You can see a list of physicians licensed to issue a medical marijuana recommendation here
  1. After your physician certifies you in the system, wait for an email confirmation with the next steps on how to pay for your medical marijuana ID card in the portal.

The application fee for patients and caregivers is $50 but those who participate in the following government programs may qualify for a discount: Medicaid, PACE/ PACENET, CHIP, SNAP and WIC.

Patient ID cards are typically sent by mail within 14 days. Meanwhile, it can take 4 to 6 weeks for a caregiver application to be approved.

Frequently Asked Questions on Getting an Pennsylvania Medical Marijuana Card

Why do I need to medical marijuana card?

Having a Pennsylvania medical marijuana ID card is the only way patients with a debilitating condition will be able to legally use medical marijuana.

Who is eligible for medical marijuana card?

Patients in Pennsylvania who have at least one qualifying condition may get a recommendation from a state licensed physician for medical marijuana.

Why would I want a medical marijuana card?

A medical marijuana card is the only way patients with a debilitating condition can use cannabis in Pennsylvania.

How long does the process take?

It can take up to 14 days for your Pennsylvania medical marijuana card to be sent to you by mail after your application is approved.

How much does it cost to obtain a medical marijuana card?

It costs $50 to apply for a medical marijuana card in Pennsylvania but those who are participating in Medicaid, PACE/ PACENET, CHIP, SNAP and WIC may apply for a reduced fee.

How many plants can I grow with medical marijuana card?

Home cultivation of medical marijuana is still not allowed in Pennsylvania.

How much marijuana can I keep with medical marijuana card?

In Pennsylvania, registered patients may buy up to a 90-day supply of medical marijuana which can be in the form of flowers, creams, gels, liquids, oils, ointments, pills, or tinctures. This amount is determined and recorded by the dispensary.

Conclusion

If you’re a patient in Pennsylvania who needs medical marijuana for your debilitating condition, you have to apply for a medical marijuana card. Compared to other states, the registration fee is fairly cheap and it can even be cheaper if you are participating in a financial assistance program. The registration process is also simpler with fewer requirements.

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