Getting Your Medical Cannabis Card in Pennsylvania

Under the law, Pennsylvania residents who have a serious medical condition as certified by an approved physician are considered medical cannabis patients.

Patient Cards: Patients register for an ID card and use that card to obtain medical cannabis at Pennsylvania dispensaries.

Caregiver Cards: Caregivers must also are Pennsylvania residents and be designated by patients to purchase and deliver their medical cannabis to them, obtained at a Pennsylvania dispensary. Caregivers register for an ID card and must complete a background check.

Cost: The fee for the card is $50. Individuals providing evidence that they participate in the following government programs may qualify for a discounted medical marijuana ID card: Medicaid, PACE/ PACENET, CHIP, SNAP, and WIC.

Approved Types of Medical Cannabis

In Pennsylvania, currently approved forms of medical marijuana include:

  • Ingestion: Pill, tablet, oil, tincture, syrup
  • Absorption/Topical: gel, creams, or ointments
  • A form medically appropriate for administration by vaporization or nebulization, including dry leaf or plant form for administration by vaporization.

Basic Process Steps

Patients who wish to participate in the medical marijuana program should:

  1. Visit the Patients and Caregivers Registry & create a patient profile in the Department of Health’s patient and caregiver registry.
  2. Obtain a physician’s certification verifying you have one of the 21 qualifying medical conditions.
  3. Once you have your physician’s certification, return to the Patient and Caregivers Registry and pay the application fee for your medical cannabis ID card.
  4. Obtain medical cannabis from an approved dispensary in Pennsylvania.

Process for Caregiver Cards

  1. Visit the Patients and Caregivers RegistryOpens In A New Window and create a caregiver profile in the Department of Health’s patient and caregiver registry.
  2. Complete a criminal background check.
  3. Complete an ‘authorization to designate a third-party caregiver’ form, if necessary.
  4. Ensure your patient has a patient certification.
  5. Return to the Patient and Caregivers RegistryOpens In A New Window and pay the application/processing fee for a medical cannabis ID card.

See an example of how to use the Patient and Caregivers Registry (animation).

Current Qualifying Conditions (aka “Serious Medical Condition):

Pennsylvania “serious medical condition” under the law is any one of the following:
  • Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis
  • Autism
  • 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
  • Epilepsy
  • Glaucoma
  • HIV / AIDS
  • Huntington’s disease
  • Inflammatory bowel disease
  • Intractable seizures
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Neurodegenerative diseases
  • Neuropathies
  • 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 (PTSD)
  • Severe chronic or intractable pain of neuropathic origin or severe chronic or intractable pain
  • Sickle cell anemia, and/or
  • Terminal illness

Detailed Info for Caregivers

Who is considered a caregiver?

The Act defines a “caregiver” as an individual 21 years of age or older, unless otherwise authorized by the department, who is:

  • Designated by a patient
  • A parent, legal guardian or spouse of a patient that is under the age of 18, and/or
  • Designated to be a caregiver by a parent, legal guardian or spouse of an individual approved by the department if no parent or legal guardian is appropriate or available.

Caregivers must register with the department and complete a criminal history background check in order to receive a medical cannabis ID card.

Who must have a caregiver?

Patients under the age of 18 are required to have a caregiver.

Can a person be a caregiver for more than one patient?

Yes. Caregivers may provide care for up to five patients.

Additional Resources for Patients and Caregivers

Source: https://www.health.pa.gov/topics/programs/Medical%20Marijuana/Pages/Patients.aspx

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