How to Get a Medical Marijuana Card in Pennsylvania Step by Step
Medical marijuana became legal in Pennsylvania when former governor Tom Wolf signed the Medical Marijuana Act in 2016. Subsequent amendments to the legislation expanded patients’ access and rights. Today, eligible residents can obtain medical marijuana cards to purchase and possess cannabis from licensed dispensaries.
Pennsylvanians can apply for their cards entirely online. The process is reliable and fast, ensuring patients can begin purchasing medical marijuana as quickly as possible. Cannabis can improve the quality of life and functional tolerance of patients experiencing many physical and psychological symptoms caused by qualifying conditions.
The Department of Health (DOH) oversees the medical marijuana program and issues cards. This article discusses approved medical conditions, each step of the application process, and tips for submitting the strongest application.
Step 1: Identify Your Qualifying Condition
Under Pennsylvania law, applicants must have an approved medical condition to obtain a certificate for medical marijuana. Many of the accepted conditions include multiple diagnoses. Speaking with a qualified medical marijuana doctor is the best way to confirm your eligibility if you're unsure. The following are approved qualifying medical conditions:
- Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis
- Anxiety disorders
- Chronic Hepatitis C
- Crohn's disease
- Damage to the nervous tissue of the central nervous system
- Dyskinetic and spastic movement disorders
- Severe, chronic, or intractable pain
- Sickle cell anemia
- Terminal illness
- Tourette syndrome
- Huntington's disease
- Inflammatory bowel disease
- Intractable seizures
- Multiple sclerosis
- Neurodegenerative diseases
- Opioid use disorder
- Parkinson's disease
- Post-traumatic stress disorder
Step 2: Compile Your Paperwork
Before you meet with a doctor, be sure to enroll in the Medical Marijuana Registry online to get a patient ID number. This identifier links your marijuana certificate and medical marijuana card.
Pennsylvania's streamlined application process maximizes patient access by minimizing the paperwork requirements. You will submit your demographic information, including your home address, as part of the registry enrollment process. Applicants need a valid Pennsylvania driver's license or state-issued ID to prove their identity and residency.
Once you provide the state with your ID, the DOH generates a patient number you can use when completing your medical marijuana consult. Once the doctor confirms your eligibility, they send the necessary form to the DOH electronically.
Step 3: Meet with a Licensed Physician
Medical marijuana doctors are physicians who understand the benefits and risks of cannabis. They believe in the palliative effects of marijuana and have experience issuing certifications. They will conduct a medical consultation in which they ask about your medical history, qualifying condition, and the nature of your symptoms.
This appointment allows the doctor to understand how marijuana can help you. Be forthright about your condition and how it alters your life. Asking questions about side effects and how cannabis will impact your symptoms will help you set realistic expectations and make the best decision for your health.
Your medical marijuana consultation can be done online or in person. These options make getting certified easy and convenient for patients without a nearby medical marijuana provider or those with mobility challenges. After your consultation, the doctor will transmit your certificate directly to the DOH.
Step 4: Submit Your Application
It's essential to ensure your demographic information is accurate on your application. Your address must be United States Postal Service recognized and validated for registry approval. Verifying the accuracy of your information ensures the application processes quickly and that your card arrives promptly.
After reviewing your information and obtaining your medical marijuana certificate, the final step is to pay the $50 application fee through the online portal. Once the state receives payment, your application begins processing.
You may qualify for a free card if you participate in CHIP, Medicaid, PACE, PACENET, SNAP, or WIC.
Step 5: Receive Your Medical Marijuana Card
Applications typically process within seven days of the payment date. The timeline can be longer if the DOH experiences higher than usual application volume. In most cases, cards arrive within 14 days of the submission date. The state recommends requesting a replacement card through the online portal if your card does not arrive within three weeks of your payment.
Once you have the card, you can shop at any dispensary in Pennsylvania. Many locations require an appointment for your initial visit because you must meet with the pharmacist to discuss dosing and consumption methods. These providers offer valuable guidance about maximizing your use of medical marijuana.
Need Help Obtaining a Pennsylvania Medical Marijuana Card?
The Sanctuary staff understands the Pennsylvania medical marijuana program requirements and application process. Our team can advise you about eligibility standards and the program rules. We can also connect you with a compassionate marijuana physician who will conduct your telehealth consultation and issue a medical marijuana certificate.