Getting Medical Marijuana
Getting Medical Marijuana
Pennsylvania’s medical marijuana program provides access to medical marijuana for patients with specific medical conditions. This guide walks you through the process of getting medical marijuana.
If somebody has taken drugs and becomes unresponsive, call 911 immediately. These resources are intended for preventive measures only.
Medical Marijuana in Pennsylvania
Governor Wolf legalized medical marijuana in Pennsylvania on April 6, 2016, and on February 15, 2018 medical marijuana became available for patients at dispensaries across the commonwealth — providing long-overdue medical relief to patients with serious medical conditions.
How to Get Medical Marijuana
Getting medical marijuana through Pennsylvania’s medical marijuana program involves four basic steps:
- Register for the program through the Medical Marijuana Registry .
- Have a physician certify that you suffer from one of the medical conditions that qualify for medical marijuana.
- Pay for a medical marijuana ID card.
- Get medical marijuana from an approved dispensary in Pennsylvania.
The first step in getting medical marijuana in Pennsylvania is getting registered. To register for the medical marijuana program, you must create a profile in the Medical Marijuana Registry .
This profile includes basic information such as your legal name, current address, and contact information. To register for the medical marijuana program, you must also have a Pennsylvania driver’s license or an ID card issued by the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation. Here is more information on getting a driver’s license or ID card in Pennsylvania.
Get Certified by a Physician
Once you have registered in the Medical Marijuana Registry , the next step is to have an approved physician certify that you suffer from a qualifying medical condition.
Approved physicians also have access to the Medical Marijuana Registry and will submit their certifications directly to the system.
Physicians who recommend medical marijuana in Pennsylvania are required to register with the Department of Health. If your current physician is not registered with the Department of Health, you can find an approved physician here .
Qualifying Medical Conditions
Only patients suffering from one of the following medical conditions may currently participate in Pennsylvania’s medical marijuana program:
- Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.
- 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.
Medical Marijuana Caregivers
When completing your application in the Medical Marijuana Registry , you may also designate up to two caregivers to assist you in obtaining medical marijuana. You may designate a spouse, a parent, or even a friend. Patients under the age of 18 are required to have a caregiver.
Caregivers will also have to register for the medical marijuana program and all caregivers must complete a background check before being approved. Jump down to the second on Becoming a Medical Marijuana Caregiver to find more information on how caregivers can register.
Pay for an ID Card
Once you have been certified by an approved physician, the next step is to return to the Medical Marijuana Registry and complete your application for a medical marijuana ID card.
The cost of a medical marijuana ID card is $50. Patients who participate in assistance programs including Medicaid, PACE/PACENET, CHIP, SNAP, and WIC may be eligible for fee reductions.
First Time Registering
Once you have been certified by an approved physician, the next step is to return to the Medical Marijuana Registry and pay for your medical marijuana ID card.
Renewing a Registration
You’ll receive an email with directions on how to pay 30 days before your annual payment is due. This email includes a due date that is usually about a week before the expiration date on the ID card. If the payment is not received by that date, the ID card will automatically be deactivated. When you long in and pay the annual payment, the card is immediately reactivated.
Renew Your Registration
When to Renew
You’ll receive an email 60 days before your patient certification and ID card expire. This means it’s time to renew.
How to Renew
1. Submit Online
- Log in to your patient account as a returning user.
- In the blue ribbon at the top of the page, click “profile settings.”
- Review and update personal information. [Note: All information should match your Pennsylvania driver’s license or state-issued ID. If you have a change of address card, use that address.]
- Save your changes and click “Renew my registration.”
2. Check Your Email
After renewing online, you’ll get a verification email with next steps.
3. Visit a Doctor
Get a patient certification from any registered practitioner. You do not need to see the same doctor who issued your initial patient certification.
4. Check Your Mailbox
Once you’re certified by a doctor, a new card will be printed and mailed to you at the address you listed in the patient portal. The new card will have an issue date for the day after your original card expires.
Find a Dispensary
Become a Medical Marijuana Caregiver
A caregiver is someone who can pick up medical marijuana at a dispensary on a patient’s behalf. Each patient may designate up to two caregivers. Minor patients are required to have a caregiver.
Caregivers may provide care for up to five medical marijuana patients and patients can have up to two caregivers.
- Be at least 21 years old (If you are under 21 years of age but would like to be considered as a caregiver for a patient, email the Department of Health . In the email, please provide information about your relationship to the patient and why you should be allowed to serve as their caregiver.)
- Be a Pennsylvania resident
- Have a valid Pennsylvania driver’s license or a state-issued ID card (with current address)
- Complete a criminal history background check
- Not have been convicted of a criminal offense relating to the sale or possession of drugs, narcotics, or a controlled substance in the last five years
- Register and obtain an ID card that will allow you to pick up medical marijuana at a Pennsylvania dispensary
Registering as a Caregiver for an Existing Patient
Have a registered medical marijuana patient who needs your help? Here’s how to register as their caregiver.
You’ll need the patient’s:
- Name as it appears in the Patient and Caregiver Registry
- Patient ID number
- Date of birth
- Go to the Patient and Caregiver Registry
- In the “Caregivers” section, click “Adult Patient Caregiver Registration” if the patient is an adult patient who has or will have a patient ID card to visit a dispensary.
- In the “Caregivers” section, click “Caregiver registering for an existing patient” if the patient is registered and is a minor, requires in-home support, or has a disability that requires assistance. (These patients will not get an ID card of their own or visit a dispensary.)
Registering as a Caregiver for a New Patient
Here’s how to register as a caregiver for a person who is not yet registered in the medical marijuana program and will not visit a dispensary on their own behalf.
In this instance, your patient is a minor, a person who requires in-home support, or a person with a disability. These patients will not get an ID card of their own or visit a dispensary.
- Go to the Patient and Caregiver Registry . In the “Caregivers” section, click “Caregiver Registering for a New Patient.”
- Fill out all information and click “Submit” to register and create a caregiver profile.
- Watch for an email with instructions for completing the background check.
- Allow 4-6 weeks for your application to go through the approval process.
- Once notified of your acceptance by the Department of Health, return to the Patient and Caregiver Registry to pay any fees to obtain your medical marijuana caregiver card.
If you are a caregiver for a minor but not the patient’s parent, legal guardian or spouse, you should be designated as a third-party caregiver by the patient, the patient’s legal guardian, or the patient’s spouse. It is recommendation that you complete an “authorization to designate a third-party caregiver’ form. This form can be downloaded from the caregiver’s profile in the Patient and Caregiver Registry . Once completed, you can upload the form to your caregiver profile.