Is weed legal in Pennsylvania? (Legalization Guide)

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Allen Harper
Written By Allen Harper

September 9, 2022

Is Weed Legal in PA?

Pennsylvania recognizes the medical use of marijuana. Recreational use is not authorized and is regarded as a criminal offense per state laws. However, residents can possess small amounts of marijuana in some cities. Therefore, residents can ideally have, consume, and purchase medical cannabis.

Legislation

The medical use of cannabis was decriminalized in April 2016. In 2018, medical cannabis was made available at state-licensed medical dispensaries. Senate Bill 3 authorizes the consumption of medical marijuana with a state-authorized doctor’s recommendation. Besides, the law also enlists some significant medical conditions. If any individual suffers from mentioned health concerns, they ideally qualify for the use of medical cannabis. The Pennsylvania Department of Health regulates the overall program.

From where to purchase cannabis?

To acquire medical cannabis, patients and caregivers must get a state-certified medical cannabis identification card. Furthermore, one can purchase from state-licensed medical dispensaries.

Patients who can’t get medical marijuana for themselves need a caregiver. The caregiver purchases cannabis on behalf of their patients. Although, the state has imposed certain laws on caregivers. Therefore, it is imperative to follow the general guidelines.

Where is it safe to consume cannabis?

In Pennsylvania, individuals can effectively consume medical cannabis in an enclosed area. The state authorities have permitted the consumption in personal properties. Individuals who consume it in an open space or public place are punishable by law.

Other than the above-stated law, in some rare circumstances, employees are also allowed to take cannabis on-site. However, it is highly contingent and primarily the decision of the employer.

Possession limits

Patients and caregivers are both allowed to possess up to a 30-day supply of medical marijuana. It is the maximum limit set by the regulatory board. If patients or caregivers fail to comply with the established guidelines, they will face legal trouble.

Medical marijuana registry

The state accounts for a complete medical marijuana program. The Pennsylvania Department of Health oversees the comprehensive program. Patients and caregivers can effectively obtain medical marijuana after they receive a state-certified medical cannabis ID card. Although, not every individual can acquire medical cannabis. Patients diagnosed with serious health concerns are eligible to get medical marijuana. The state has a broad patient and caregiver registry. Before the doctor’s recommendation, both patients and caregivers must register for the Medical Marijuana Program. The registration verifies that the patient suffers from a significant (qualifying) health concern.

Basic qualifying conditions

Other than the medical conditions, there are certain other conditions that individuals must fulfill for actively participating in the medical marijuana program. These are as follows:

  • The minimum age for acquiring a medical cannabis card in Pennsylvania is 18 years.
  • Patients under 18 must designate a caregiver who will purchase medical cannabis on their behalf.
  • The applicant must be a resident of Pennsylvania and must produce legal proof of residency. Non-residents are ineligible for the program.
  • The medical diagnosis must be conducted by a physician who has participated in Pennsylvania’s Medical Marijuana Program.
It is appropriate to emphasise that people in Pennsylvania can use cannabis to properly address their medical issues. Consuming it for recreational purposes is, however, considered a criminal by the state.

Qualifying medical conditions

The state has outlined certain medical issues, also termed qualifying medical conditions. If any individual suffers from the below-mentioned health concerns, they ideally become eligible for obtaining medical marijuana.

  • Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis
  • Anxiety disorders
  • Autism
  • Cancer (including remission therapy)
  • Crohn’s disease.
  • Damage to the nervous tissue of the central nervous system (brain-spinal cord)
  • Dyskinetic movement disorders
  • Epilepsy
  • Glaucoma
  • HIV
  • Huntington’s disease
  • Inflammatory bowel disease
  • Intractable seizures
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Neurodegenerative diseases
  • Neuropathies
  • Opioid use disorders (including ineffective therapeutic
  • interventions)
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • PTSD
  • Severe pain of neuropathic origin
  • Sickle cell anaemia
  • Terminal illness
  • Tourette syndrome

The above-mentioned are the qualifying medical concerns that make an individual eligible for participating in Pennsylvania’s medical marijuana program.

Once an individual is confirmed to be suffering from a qualifying medical concern, they must follow a complete application process for obtaining a medical cannabis ID card.

Application Process

Following is the application process that every patient must follow:

Step 1: Connect with a state-authorized healthcare expert
The primary step to acquire medical marijuana card is to connect with an authorized physician who has participated in the Pennsylvania Medical Marijuana Program. The physician will assess your medical condition and fill out the certification if satisfied with the details.

Step 2: State Registration
Once the authorization is received the other step is to register with the state. Individuals must create a profile in the Pennsylvania Medical Marijuana Program Registry. Furthermore, individuals must also submit documents like valid driver’s license and state-issued identification card. Once the profile is created, individuals will receive a confirmation mail on their registered email id.

Step 3: Patient certification
Once an individual qualifies, the physician will fill out a certification. The certification is directly issued on the state’s system. Individuals will receive an email from the regulatory authority regarding further steps.

Step 4: Receiving card
Once the certification is received, individuals must pay $50 as an annual application fee. The general cost is $50; however, the overall amount will reduce further if an individual participates in assistance programs like Medicaid, PACE/PACENET, CHIP, SNAP, and WIC. As the fee is paid, the state issues the medical marijuana card via email.

Caregiving

ndividuals who cannot obtain medical marijuana on their own can designate caregivers. The caregivers can effectively buy the required amount of medical cannabis on behalf of patients. Besides, patients below the age of 18 also need caregivers. An individual can appoint up to 2 caregivers.

Although to become a caregiver, individuals need to qualify for certain criteria. These are as follows:

  • The minimum age must be 21 years.
  • A resident of Pennsylvania.
  • The caregiver must have a state-issued identification card and driver’s license.
  • They should not be convicted of any crime.

Once the aspects mentioned above are fulfilled, individuals can register themselves as caregivers.

Caregiver Registration (Existing Patients)

When registering as a caregiver for an existing patient, one must have details like:

  • Patient’s name and caregivers’ registry.
  • Patient ID number.
  • Date of Birth.

Follow the steps mentioned below:
1. Select Patient and Caregiver Registry on the official website.

  • Further, select the Adult Patient Caregiver Registration in the caregiver section if the patient is an adult and possesses a patient ID.
  • In the caregiver section, select Caregiver registering for an existing patient if the patient is minor and registered. Such patients will not have a patient ID.

2. Once the details are submitted, create an online profile.
3. The authorities will send an email concerning background checks.
4. Once the details are verified, an email will be sent by DOH. In this, the caregiver must return to the Patient and Caregiver Registry and pay the fee for the caregiver card. After fee payment, individuals will receive their medical marijuana caregiver card within a few days.

Caregiver Registration (New Patients)

On the other hand, if a caregiver is registering for a new patient (one who is not registered in the medical marijuana program), the following steps must be followed:

1.Caregivers must visit the Patient and Caregiver Registry and select Caregiver Registering for a New Patient.
2. Fill out all the details and click on submit. With this, a caregiver profile will be created.
3. The authorities will send an email to conduct background checks.
4. The process takes a maximum of six weeks, so be patient!
5. Once the DOH approves, caregivers must return to the Patient and Caregiver Registry and pay the annual fee. Once the payment is paid, they will get their medical marijuana caregiver card in a few days.

Reciprocity

Reciprocity is not accepted in Pennsylvania. Thus, the state does not recognize the medical marijuana cards of other states. The medical marijuana program is solely open to state residents.

Bottom Line!

Therefore, in a nutshell, it is fitting to mention that individuals can effectively consume cannabis to treat their medical concerns in Pennsylvania. However, the state imposes a felony on consuming it for recreational uses. Thus, one must understand the general laws governing medical cannabis in Pennsylvania. Besides, one must possess a medical marijuana card to access cannabis from medical dispensaries. Hence, it is imperative to follow the process to get maximum benefits.

Steps to Get Your MMJ card

Our Simple 3 Step Process For Medical Marijuana Card

1. Fill up your details in an easy 420 Evaluations form.

2. Get Evaluated by a Local MMJ doctor After Online Submission.

3. Get Approved and Receive your Recommendation In Your Email.

Looking To Apply For A Medical Marijuana Card?

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