If you’re reading this guide and looking to obtain a medical marijuana card in the state of Pennsylvania, you’ve arrived at the right place. In this guide, we’ll explain all the steps you need to know and answer some of the most frequently asked questions.
Before we dive into the practical steps, it’s important to know the following;
On April 17, 2016, the state of Pennsylvania took a giant step as Governor Tom Wolf signed Pennsylvania’s medical marijuana program into law. The new law, known as Act 16, protects registered patients and their physicians from civil and criminal penalties and creates a more organized and regulated system for patients to use medical marijuana as a treatment.
Unfortunately, while laws have been placed and are now fully understood by the public, the exact program details governed by the Department of Health are yet to be released. This is currently causing a lot of misunderstanding among medical patients who are trying to obtain a medical marijuana card legally.
How to Obtain a Medical Marijuana ID Card in Pennsylvania?
As a resident of Pennsylvania, the process of obtaining a medical marijuana card is follows:
The first step to applying for a medical marijuana ID card in the state of Pennsylvania is to obtain your medical records from your primary care doctor and get a signed physician’s statement from a licensed physician.
Unfortunately, to get an MMJ Card in the state of Pennsylvania, you are REQUIRED be a resident. This requires you to provide proof of residency, such as a Pennsylvania I.D, passport or another photo I.D with proof of residency, for example, a bank statement, utility bill, etc…
Unlike other medical states, such as the recreational state of California, Pennsylvania’s laws require you to submit your application together with as much medical backing as possible. It’s best to obtain medical records or documentation from your doctor describing their diagnosis, before applying for an MMJ card with the state.
Similar to other medical states, you will have to have a physician-patient relationship. A “Bona fide physician–patient relationship,” which means a relationship in which the doctor has ongoing responsibility for the care, assessment, and treatment of a patient’s medical condition.
Practical Tip- The more medical history you can obtain and have signed by your doctor the higher of a chance you are going to have in being approved for a medical marijuana ID card.
Furthermore, it is always best to make sure you make copies of all your documents as you may be required to bring them along to your marijuana evaluation appointment.
Once you have your papers and your physician’s medical recommendation, then next step is to apply to the Department of Health for a medical marijuana ID card.
Here is a quick reminder of what you will need
- Electronic copy of photo identification;
- Current digital photograph;
- Visa or Mastercard for payment; and
- Recommendation from a state medical marijuana doctor
- For patients under 18 years of age, make sure you fill in the Safe Harbor Physician Form
Please also note that in specific cases you may be asked to complete a background check.
For further information feel free to contact Pennsylvania’s Department of Health Services:
Office of the Governor
508 Main Capitol Building
Harrisburg, PA 17120
Website: Pennsylvania Medical Marijuana Program
Are there any restrictions for patients?
As a patient you may not:
- Grow marijuana
- Drive under the influence of marijuana
- Give or sell marijuana to anybody
- Use marijuana in a public place
- Possess or smoke marijuana on a school bus or school grounds
- Use dried leaf or whole plant marijuana
- Smoke marijuana
- Utilize medical marijuana in workplace environment while performing specific dangerous activities
- Purchase food or drinks infused with marijuana
Can I only Apply Online? Or Can I Physically Apply?
As of now, Pennsylvania does not have any specific details in regards to the precise program offline or any online practice of Telehealth/Telemedicine. However, there is legislation pending (House Bill 491) addressing the state’s parity law and requirements for the Interstate Medical Licensure Compact. This bill is expected to outline the rules in regards to the practice of Telehealth, in Pennsylvania.
How Long Will It take to Receive a Medical Card?
This is yet to be determined
What are the Costs Involved?
The patient registry application fee is $50. This may change once the program is in place.
What Conditions are Eligible to Receive a Medical Marijuana Card?
Patients in Pennsylvania diagnosed with one of the following severe, debilitating, or life-threatening medical conditions may qualifying for medical marijuana.
Most conditions are debilitating ones, and they include:
Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS);
Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) / Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS);
Inflammatory Bowel Disease;
Intractable Seizures (IS);
Multiple Sclerosis (MS);
Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD);
Spinal cord damage with objective neurological indication of intractable spasticity;
Severe chronic/intractable pain of neuropathic origin/severe chronic/intractable pain in which conventional therapeutic intervention and opiate therapy is contraindicated or ineffective;
Sickle Cell Anemia;
What Are Approved Medical Marijuana Card Holders Entitled To?
Under Pennsylvania’s medical marijuana program, Act 16 of 2016, patients are permitted to possess a month’s supply of medical marijuana to treat any of the medical conditions listed above. The types of medical marijuana that will be available in Pennsylvania will be limited to;
- Topical Forms, including gel, creams, and ointments
- A form medically suitable for administration by vaporization or nebulization (excluding dry leaf or plant form)
Can I Grow My Own Marijuana?
Laws on growing Cannabis are still pending.
How to Renew Your Medical Marijuana Card?
To be determined by Pennsylvania’s Department of Health
Related Article: 3 Ways to Get a Medical Marijuana Card Online (in Minutes)
Can I use Medical Marijuana Anywhere?
It is important to understand that when consuming marijuana in public, in any form, it may be assumed that you are consuming it for recreational purposes, which is illegal on a Federal Level.
It is advised to consume your medical cannabis responsibly, in the safety of your home or a private residence.
The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) has the power to enforce federal criminal laws relating to marijuana possession and use, irrespective of state law. Growing, distributing, and/or possessing marijuana in any capacity, except through the federally-approved research program, is a violation of the federal legislation, and no state law provides a legal defense to a violation of federal law.
Can anyone else purchase medical marijuana on behalf of a patient?
When a patient submits an application to the department a medical marijuana ID card, he or she may designate up to two caregivers. Caregivers must
1) Undergo a criminal history background check
2) Apply to the department for a medical marijuana identification card
3) Be registered with the Department of Health.
Can I Consume Cannabis in My Car?
No. A patient cannot drive a vehicle while under the influence of marijuana.
Can I take My Cannabis Meds to a Different State?
Medical cannabis patients may face federal and local charges of transporting cannabis if they cross state lines. This is true even if the states between which they are traveling allow medical cannabis use.
Should you need to travel with your cannabis, it would be best to contact the state’s Bureau of health to fully understand the specific laws of the state you are going to so that you don’t risk breaking any state or Federal laws.
How Much Should I consume?
At Marijuanabreak, we are not doctors or physicians, and therefore it is advised to always consult with a professional before using medical cannabis.
Have any other questions? Please contact us through our Facebook Page or go directly to the Pennsylvania Medical Marijuana Program
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