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.
We are always publishing high quality content through DispenseMagazine.com. Here’s a peak at some of our most recent stories:
Let’s Talk Terpenes – Cedrene
by Kristal Oknefski on January 14, 2020 at 12:08 am
Dispense MagazineThis is the 25th installment in our weekly series, “Let’s Talk Terpenes,” published every Monday. For more information, read the introduction to this series, “Let’s Talk Terpenes: A Guide For Medical Marijuana Patients.” Todays’ featured terpene is cedrene, a sesquiterpene commonly found in cedar as well as the cannabis plant. As one of the secondary The post Let’s Talk Terpenes – Cedrene appeared first on Dispense Magazine.
Let’s Talk Terpenes – Menthol
by Kristal Oknefski on January 6, 2020 at 4:49 pm
Dispense MagazineThis is the 24th installment in our weekly series, “Let’s Talk Terpenes,” published every Monday. For more information, read the introduction to this series, “Let’s Talk Terpenes: A Guide For Medical Marijuana Patients.” Today’s focus is on menthol, one of the most well-known and in-demand terpenes in the world. This waxy, crystalline terpene appears naturally in The post Let’s Talk Terpenes – Menthol appeared first on Dispense Magazine.
Flower Shortage in PA – Growing Pains or Structural Problems?
by Dispense Magazine Podcast on January 5, 2020 at 8:06 pm
Dispense MagazineA Panel of Industry Watchdogs Weighs in on Flower Shortage Medical cannabis patients in Pennsylvania are experiencing a severe flower shortage at the state’s legal dispensaries. Many people are angry, many are quite vocal about who is to blame for these shortages. Can the flower shortage be fixed? And when can we see relief? In The post Flower Shortage in PA – Growing Pains or Structural Problems? appeared first on Dispense Magazine.
Dispense Podcast now available on iHeartRadio
by Kristal Oknefski on January 1, 2020 at 10:21 pm
Dispense MagazineThe Dispense Podcast is now part of the iHeartRadio family! Click here to listen to our latest episode, “Helping Veterans Find Balance: An Interview With Ron Millward”. Medical cannabis is becoming a part of the everyday lives of veterans, as it is often the most effective treatment for both pain and PTSD. So we’re proud The post Dispense Podcast now available on iHeartRadio appeared first on Dispense Magazine.
Let’s Talk Terpenes – Fenchol
by Kristal Oknefski on December 31, 2019 at 3:00 am
Dispense MagazineThis is the 23rd installment in our weekly series, “Let’s Talk Terpenes,” published every Monday. For more information, read the introduction to this series, “Let’s Talk Terpenes: A Guide For Medical Marijuana Patients.” Today we’ll be highlighting fenchol (also known as fenchyl alcohol), one of the obscure monoterpenoids found in the cannabis plant. The distinctive The post Let’s Talk Terpenes – Fenchol appeared first on Dispense Magazine.
Let’s Talk Terpenes- Guaiol
by Kristal Oknefski on December 23, 2019 at 7:04 pm
Dispense MagazineThis is the 22nd installment in our weekly series, “Let’s Talk Terpenes,” published every Monday. For more information, read the introduction to this series, “Let’s Talk Terpenes: A Guide For Medical Marijuana Patients.” Today, we’re spotlighting guaiol, a unique secondary terpene found in the cannabis plant as well as the tropical guaiacum plant and the The post Let’s Talk Terpenes- Guaiol appeared first on Dispense Magazine.