The state of Pennsylvania decriminalized medical cannabis for patients in 2016, giving birth to the state’s Medical Marijuana Program shortly after. Since 2018, Pennsylvania residents with certain severe and debilitating medical conditions have enjoyed the freedom of using marijuana to improve their symptoms and lives.
The Keystone state’s medical marijuana program has been around for a couple of years, yet many residents are not too clear on how to apply. Here is an in-depth breakdown of the medical marijuana card application process, from start to finish.
Pennsylvania requires medical cannabis applicants to be at least 18 years of age or older. Minor patients (individuals under 18 years old) requiring medical marijuana access must have an adult caregiver over 21 to apply on their behalf.
All state medical marijuana patients can choose up to two caregivers to purchase, prepare and administer cannabis for their medical treatments. Caregivers are not required for patients of legal age (21 or older), except for minors.*
Caregivers must also meet the following criteria.
Patients are not required to undergo background screening. However, criminal history reviews are mandatory for anyone applying as a caregiver. Having a criminal history does not automatically lead to ineligibility. The state and medical cannabis program reviews caregiver background record results individually and issues approval and denials on a case-by-case basis.
Applicants must have an approved medical condition to qualify as a medical marijuana patient. The Department of Health regulates the medical marijuana program and regularly updates its list of qualifying conditions as mandated. Currently, residents who are interested in becoming medical marijuana patients must have at least one of the following approved medical ailments.
Qualification is not automatic. Potential patients must see an approved physician for an evaluation to learn if they are eligible to use cannabis medicinally.
The state’s medical cannabis program is reserved for eligible adults. Yet, studies prove that many children, teens, and adolescents can benefit from medical marijuana. Pennsylvania’s medical marijuana program includes provisions for minors. Children or minors under 18 years old with qualifying medical conditions can become Pennsylvania medical cannabis patients. But, they must have an approved caregiver and comply with all other program requirements.
Parents and legal guardians are the standard choices for caregivers of minor medical marijuana patients. Caregivers of minor medical cannabis patients can also be unrelated third parties who meet all other criteria.
Medical marijuana recommendation cards are neither free nor covered by insurance. Currently, patients must pay a non-refundable fee with their applications. This fee does not cover the required health and medical cannabis evaluation by an approved marijuana doctor.
Currently, the application fee for Pennsylvania medical cannabis cards is $50. The price of evaluation and recommendation appointments with an approved medical marijuana physician is dependent on the provider. Provider fees range widely but average $90 to $250 a visit.
Medical Marijuana Card Discount Program for Qualified Patients
Pennsylvania has an assistance program that offers a discount for medical cannabis patients with financial need. The reduced application fee is $25. To qualify, patients must complete a separate application and provide a recent benefit statement of the following as proof.
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Potential patients can apply to the Pennsylvania Medical Marijuana Registry Program online via the state’s website. To start, they’ll need to create a profile and validate certain information to register and receive a unique patient ID number. After receiving their patient number, they’ll need to see a PMMPR registered medical provider for a health evaluation and cannabis treatment recommendation.
New patients should bring valid identification, a recent copy of their medical or health records, PMMRP patient number, and a list of medications or their prescription containers to their medical cannabis health evaluation. During the medical marijuana recommendation visit, patients should be prepared to discuss their health issues and concerns regarding medical cannabis. The physician will review the patient’s medical situation before certifying them for medical cannabis treatment.
Pennsylvania medical cannabis providers reserve the right to deny patients. To prevent delays and denials, applicants should ensure they have medical documentation verifying that they have at least one qualifying medical disorder.
Patient certifications are completed and registered with the state online by Pennsylvania Medical Marijuana Registry-approved physicians. The state notifies approved patients within four to six weeks by email of the final steps to complete to receive their medical marijuana license card. Most approved patients receive their medical marijuana cards in the mail within two weeks.
Because the process involves several steps, many applicants find it easier to go through an online marijuana card recommendation network like Marijuana Doctors.
The Keystone state has over 115 active medical marijuana dispensaries to accommodate its medical cannabis patients. Registered patients and caregivers can go to any location in the state to safely procure medicinal cannabis products.
Not sure where the nearest dispensary is in your area? Use our Pennsylvania Dispensary Locator to find medical marijuana treatment facilities nearby.
With so many changes happening across the country regarding marijuana decriminalization and medical patient access, it’s understandable that many Pennsylvania residents are confused or unsure about the medical marijuana patient process. Please review the following questions and answers for additional clarity on medical cannabis cards and evaluations.
Despite having over 1,800 qualified cannabis-friendly physicians, many residents are unsure how to find one. Marijuana Doctors is here to eliminate barriers so current and potential patients can get the medical marijuana treatments they need. All medical providers in our directory are licensed, board-certified, and approved by the Pennsylvania Department of Health’s Medical Marijuana Registry board.
Use the Find a Doctor Locator to see medical marijuana providers in your area.
PA medical cannabis patients must renew their cards annually to prevent treatment interruptions. The renewal process is quick and painless. Patients simply need to see an approved medical physician to update their cannabis treatment recommendation and certification and pay the $100 renewal fee. Renewal cards are sent out within 10 days of approval.
Patients are allowed to purchase up to a 30-day supply of medical treatments from state-registered dispensaries at a time. However, individual allotments are determined by the dispensary. Currently, Pennsylvania cannabis patients can purchase the following types of marijuana products from a state-approved dispensary.
Smoking cannabis is prohibited, but patients are allowed to vape or vaporize marijuana for medicinal purposes. After regulatory review, Pennsylvania has deemed certain inhalable medical marijuana products unsafe and prohibits their sale, distribution, and use. Patients can review the list of banned medical cannabis inhalable products here.
Marijuana Doctors is a leading medical cannabis network committed to educating and empowering patients on their medical marijuana journeys. We vet and screen all medical providers, dispensaries, and industry resources so patients can quickly find the information, services and support they need to medicate safely with cannabis.
Whether you’re a new or renewing marijuana card applicant or a patient looking for personalized cannabis strain and product recommendations, look no further than Marijuana Doctors. Contact us today!