Getting Medical Card in PA – State Laws Info

Updated on August 31, 2020.  Medical content reviewed by Dr. Joseph Rosado, MD, M.B.A, Chief Medical Officer

On April 6, 2016, the Pennsylvania medical marijuana program’s first writing passed legislation and was signed into law. Governor Wolf helped launch the medical marijuana program as a patient advocate. On February 15, 2018, medical cannabis became available for patients in the Commonwealth of PA.

The list of qualifying health conditions for Pennsylvania is inclusive. More health conditions can make a patient eligible for a PA medical marijuana card. Many states (like Texas) have a more restrictive list of qualifying health conditions and symptoms.

Suppose you have talked to your doctor about using medical cannabis to help manage chronic health symptoms. In that case, you may be ready to take the next step and get your Pennsylvania marijuana card. Review the current laws in Pennsylvania and the steps involved in getting a medical card in PA.

Who Can Qualify for a Pennsylvania Medical Marijuana Card?

Individuals that want to get a Pennsylvania medical marijuana card must be aged 21 years or older.  Parents or legal guardians of children with severe health conditions or compassionate care needs can register as caregivers with the medical marijuana program in PA. Caregivers are responsible for purchasing and administering medical cannabis with the supervision of a doctor and pediatric specialist.

Qualifying health conditions are symptoms and diagnoses approved by the State of Pennsylvania for the MMJ program. Medical cannabis can be an alternative approach to manage pain, nausea, anxiety, depression, muscle spasms, and other health conditions.

Some of the qualifying health conditions that can make a patient eligible to get a PA medical card include:

  • Epilepsy
  • Glaucoma
  • Autism
  • Parkinson’s Disease
  • Multiple Sclerosis
  • Neuropathic pain
  • Inflammatory Bowel Disease or IBS

Addiction substitute therapy is another qualifying health condition. Medical marijuana can be used therapeutically by patients with chronic pain symptoms who want to step-down from opioid medication use.

Record of a medical diagnosis of one or more of the qualified health conditions is needed. When patients are undergoing a Pennsylvania medical marijuana card health evaluation, they must provide health records for review. Learn about all the qualified health conditions on our Pennsylvania medical marijuana resource page.

What Do You Have to Provide to Get a PA Medical Card?

A copy of your health records is part of the medical and legal documentation you will need to provide. If you want to get your medical marijuana card in Pennsylvania, you must also provide the following information:

  • A government-issued photo identification card.
  • Proof of residency. This can be a land deed, municipal utility bill or other official documentation with your home address on it.
  • A passport-style picture. 
  • Patients registering in the Pennsylvania medical marijuana program will need an email address. 

Patients are legally and immediately required to update a change in residential address. If the Pennsylvania patient registry is not informed of the address change, it can invalidate the medical marijuana card. The patient would then have to apply to be reinstated. This process can take a month or longer, depending on the number of applications.

Patients are required to apply and register on the Pennsylvania Medical Marijuana Program website. The process only takes a couple of minutes. When the application is finished, the next step is to get a health evaluation from a registered marijuana doctor in PA.

Finding a Pennsylvania Medical Marijuana Doctor

Marijuana Doctors provides a directory of top-rated physicians in Pennsylvania.  Each practitioner has been certified by the State of Pennsylvania Department of Health (DOH). They have also completed the required training to evaluate patients for medical marijuana cards.

When patients receive their first physician evaluation, they can ask questions about medical cannabis. And discuss their health symptoms to learn how medical marijuana may help. You should find a Pennsylvania marijuana doctor that you like and someone who makes you feel comfortable. 

Annual renewals for a PA medical marijuana card are required. Many patients return to the same physician every year for their MMJ card renewal health evaluation.

In between renewal health evaluations for the medical marijuana card, patients in Pennsylvania can always schedule interim appointments. Health conditions and symptoms can change. When patients establish a relationship with a marijuana doctor they like and trust, they have ongoing medical guidance. 

Can Any Doctor Provide a Medical Marijuana Health Evaluation in Pennsylvania?

In Pennsylvania, doctors have to be licensed and approved by the state before evaluating a patient for a PA medical marijuana card. If your primary care physician has suggested that medical cannabis may help, you will still need to find a doctor registered by the Pennsylvania Department of Health.

To become a physician who can conduct medical marijuana health evaluations in Pennsylvania, a doctor must register with the MMJ program first. The doctor will have to prove that they are a board-certified physician in good standing. Physicians also have to complete a four-hour course that reviews safety standards and medical marijuana laws in Pennsylvania. 

The last step for a physician to become certified for medical marijuana evaluations is reviewing their license and practice. The Department of Health (DOH) in Pennsylvania can reject any physician that does not meet the criteria and standards.

State Laws and Regulations for the Medical Marijuana Program in Pennsylvania

Want to learn more about the laws, requirements, and legal protections provided by the Pennsylvania state medical marijuana program? Make sure that you understand the terms and conditions of being a PA marijuana cardholder. 

Pennsylvania Department of Health (Medical Marijuana Program) patient resource pages and legislation:

  • Pennsylvania Medical Marijuana Advisory Board
  • Picture (example) of Pennsylvania Medical Marijuana Card

Pennsylvania Caregivers of Minor Patients Medical Marijuana Registry FAQs

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