Frequently Asked Questions
Taking the first steps in getting your Medical Cannabis certification in Pennsylvania can be confusing. Fortunately, we’ve created this list of questions we hear from a lot of patients in the community.
How much will I have to spend to get my Medical Cannabis Card in Pennsylvania
There are four basic steps to get your medical marijuana card in Pennsylvania. You pay a fee to the state and the certifying physicians’ fees vary:
1. To start the application process, you will need to register for the Medical Marijuana Program and set up a profile in the Patient and Caregiver Registry. Click here to get started.
2. You must be a resident of Pennsylvania with proof of residency with a valid PA driver’s license or state-issued ID with your current address.
3. After you register, complete an in-office examination with a registered physician in the Medical Marijuana Program to confirm that you suffer from one of the 21 qualifying medical conditions. Physicians’ fees vary. Click here for a complete list of qualifying physicians in Pennsylvania.
4. Once approved by a registered physician, you will receive a certificate. Approved physicians also have access to the Medical Marijuana Registry and will submit their certifications directly to the system. The final step is to pay a $50 processing fee for the medical marijuana ID card. After receiving your ID card, you can use it to purchase medical marijuana from an approved Department of Health medical marijuana dispensary in Pennsylvania. Find a complete list here.
Can I still own a firearm if I am a Medical Cannabis patient in Pennsylvania?
The answers are not entirely straight-forward. According to an article by Patrick Nightingale, Esq., published in the premiere print issue of Dispense Magazine, under PA law a medical cannabis patient is not prejudiced relative to firearms ownership. Under federal law, however, that same patient risks a felony prosecution under federal firearms law. Any patient purchasing a firearm from a licensed firearms dealer is required to execute ATF Form 4473 which, as will be discussed below, does not acknowledge medical cannabis.
What are the qualifying conditions to receive Medical Cannabis in Pennsylvania?
Only patients suffering from one of the following medical conditions are qualified to participate in Pennsylvania’s medical marijuana program:
- Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis
- Anxiety disorders
- 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 and spastic movement disorders
- HIV / AIDS
- Huntington’s disease
- Inflammatory bowel disease
- Intractable seizures
- Multiple sclerosis
- 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
Does the Pennsylvania Medical Cannabis program protect against federal prosecution?
No. The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) has the authority to enforce civil and criminal federal laws relating to marijuana possession and use, regardless of state law. Growing, distributing, and/or possessing marijuana in any capacity, except through a federally-approved research program, is a violation of federal law, and no state or local law provides a legal defense to a violation of federal law. In light of current DOJ guidance, however, it may be unlikely that federal authorities would bring civil enforcement actions or criminal investigations and prosecutions against growers/ processors, dispensaries, physicians, seriously ill individuals or caregivers as long as they are acting pursuant to the Act. A memorandum from the DOJ (PDF), dated August 29, 2013, explains the priorities of federal authorities regarding marijuana possession and use, including state medical marijuana programs.
How do I get a patient certification in Pennsylvania?
A registered physician can issue medical marijuana patient certification. If you do not have a registered physician, you can view a list here.
How do I find a doctor in the Pennsylvania Medical Cannabis Program?
If you do not have a physician registered to certify for medical marijuana, you can view a list of physicians here.
Can minors with serious medical conditions qualify for Medical Marijuana?
Yes, patients under the age of 18 with a serious medical condition may get medical marijuana with the assistance of a caregiver.
Can you register as a patient in the Pennsylvania Medical Marijuana Program if you have a criminal record?
Patients are not required to complete a background check. However, all caregivers must complete a background check, and any criminal record will be reviewed prior to their approval.
Where can I purchase Medical Cannabis in Pennsylvania?
Once you have received your medical marijuana ID card, you can purchase medical marijuana at any dispensary in Pennsylvania that has been issued a permit by the Department of Health. Find a full list here.
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