Medical cannabis was legalized in Pennsylvania on April 6, 2016. By early 2018, medical cannabis became available at approved dispensaries, much to the relief of patients with serious medical conditions. Patients in Pennsylvania with specific medical conditions can access medical cannabis through the state’s medical marijuana program. This guide offers step-by-step instructions to register for and receive a medical card in Pennsylvania.
The Pennsylvania Department of Health has put in place temporary emergency measures to maintain patients’ access to medical cannabis during the COVID-19 pandemic and help curb the spread of the novel coronavirus. Here’s what you need to know in regards to cannabis laws in PA and the COVID-19 pandemic.
Medical cannabis dispensaries, growers, and processors have been deemed life-sustaining businesses and will remain open in the state. In Pennsylvania, new temporary measures that have been put in place include the addition of curbside pickup at dispensaries and the allowance of remote consultations for new medical marijuana cards and renewals.
Further, the 30-day limit of cannabis supply has been lifted, allowing patients to get a 90-day supply during the pandemic. Caregivers are also currently able to be assigned to more than five patients at a time, and background checks for caregiver renewal applications have been suspended as well.
These temporary changes will continue to be effective as long as Pennsylvania’s Proclamation of Disaster Emergency is in effect.
There are three basic steps to getting a medical card in Pennsylvania.
- Register: First, you’ll need to register for the medical marijuana program through the Medical Marijuana Registry.
- Book a Consultation: Next, you’ll need to book a consultation with an approved physician who can certify that you have been diagnosed with a medical condition that qualifies you for medical cannabis treatment.
- Get Your ID Card: Once you’ve been approved, return to the Medical Marijuana Registry to complete your application and pay for your ID card.
How to Get a Medical Marijuana Card in Pennsylvania
Register through the Medical Marijuana Registry
To begin the application process to get a medical card in PA, you will first need to register to become a member of the Pennsylvania medical marijuana program through the Medical Marijuana Registry.
To register, you must be a resident of Pennsylvania. You’ll need to show proof of residency, either with a state-issued ID with your current address or a valid Pennsylvania driver’s license, so make sure you have one of these forms of ID ready at the time of registration. For more information about getting a state-issued ID card or driver’s license in Pennsylvania, review the state’s DMV Services guide.
When you register, you’ll create a profile that includes your legal name, contact information, and address.
2. Book a Consultation to Get Certified
Once you’ve registered, you’ll need to book a consultation with an approved physician. An approved physician is one that has registered with the Department of Health to recommend medical marijuana in the state. A list of approved physicians in PA can be found here. If your current doctor is not on the list, Heally makes it easy for you to find a registered physician in Pennsylvania and book a consultation.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, new patients and those renewing their medical marijuana ID cards can book remote consultations to get certified from the safety of their own homes. This temporary measure has been put in place to help reduce the spread of the coronavirus.
During your consultation, the physician will review and evaluate your patient records and determine whether you suffer from one of the approved medical conditions that qualify you to receive medical cannabis. He’ll ask you questions about your medical history, symptoms, and previous treatments, as well as answer any questions you may have about medical cannabis.
There are currently 21 qualified medical conditions in PA:
- Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis
- Anxiety disorders
- Cancer (and 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 and spastic movement disorders
- Huntington’s disease
- Inflammatory bowel disease.
- Intractable seizures
- Multiple sclerosis (MS)
- Neurodegenerative diseases
- Opioid use disorder for which conventional therapeutic interventions are contraindicated or ineffective, or for which adjunctive therapy is indicated in combination with primary therapeutic interventions
- 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
- Tourette syndrome
3. Complete Your Application and Get Your ID Card
Once you have completed your consultation and have been approved, your doctor will provide you with a certificate. Your physician will send this certificate directly to the registry for you. This will allow you to complete your application for a medical marijuana card. You’ll need to pay a $50 processing fee at this point to get your ID card. You may qualify for a fee reduction if you participate in an assistant program, such as SNAP, CHIP, WIC, Medicaid, or PACE/PACENET.
At this time, you’ll also be able to designate up to two caregivers to help you obtain medical cannabis. A caregiver can be a friend, parent, or spouse. Any patient under 18 must have a caregiver. Caregivers must also register for the medical marijuana program and complete a background check before being approved.
Once you have your ID card, you will be able to purchase medical cannabis from an approved dispensary in Pennsylvania. You can find a list of approved dispensaries and locations near you in PA here.
CBD Products for Medical Cannabis Users
You can enhance and complement the benefits of medical cannabis with CBD products. Here are some great CBD products to consider using alongside medical cannabis.
This soothing hemp salve is made from all-natural ingredients, including beeswax and essential oils. First it warms, then it cools, to help you recover from aches and pains.
This perfect bedtime buddy has 25mg of CBD and 1mg of melatonin, along with calming blackberry chamomile flavors, to help you doze off and sleep better at night.
This CBD-rich, organic whole hemp extract with organic MCT coconut oil offers a complete range of complementary cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids.