Updated on April 26, 2020. Medical content reviewed by Dr. Joseph Rosado, MD, M.B.A, Chief Medical Officer
Pennsylvania’s full rollout of its medical cannabis program should begin in 2017, about eight months after it was approved by the state lawmakers and signed by the governor. About 50 licenses are supposed to have been issued to medical marijuana dispensaries so qualified patients can start purchasing their recommended dosages locally. Physicians can take the first steps to participating in the Pennsylvania Medical Marijuana Program by completing the Practitioner Registry. Governor Wolf announced in November 2017 that the state is committed to having medical marijuana available to patients in 2018.
In November 2017, the Pennsylvania Department of Health approved five practitioners from Delaware County to begin prescribing medical marijuana to patients after dispensaries go live. In total, 100 physicians across the state and 18 physicians across Delaware, Chester, and Montgomery counties will be able to recommend medical marijuana to patients with qualifying conditions.
As of May 17, 2018, Governor Wolf added the following conditions as part of a temporary regulation for universities to research the effectiveness of medical marijuana:
Under Pennsylvania law, a condition must be approved in order for research to be conducted.
“The department may not initially issue permits to more than 50 dispensaries. Each dispensary may provide medical marijuana at no more than three separate locations,” Senate Bill 3 [April 12, 2016]
* Please note: Complete program details are pending the establishment, of the state program. The Pennsylvania Patient Registry application fee is $50 and patients who participate in assistance programs including Medicaid, PACE/PACENET, CHIP, SNAP, and WIC may be eligible for fee reductions.
* The Pennsylvania Patient Registry is mandatory.
On April 12, 2016, Senate Bill 3 was approved by the Senate 42-7, and by the House 149-46 on April 13, 2016; and was signed into law by Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf (D) on April 17, 2016. Senate Bill 3 effectively removes all state-level criminal penalties on the use, possession and cultivation of marijuana by patients who possess a signed recommendation from their physician stating that marijuana “may mitigate” his/her debilitating medical symptoms.
The Pennsylvania Department of Health has been instructed on how to establish and implement the state’s Medical Marijuana Program — implementation is expected to take between 18-24 months.
Qualified patients with physician’s recommendations, must register with the state DOH — once registered, the patient will receive a Pennsylvania medical marijuana identification card. Patients issued with registry I.D. cards may purchase medical marijuana from an authorized state-licensed medical marijuana dispensary.
As per Pennsylvania’s medical marijuana law, “medical marijuana may only be dispensed to a patient or caregiver in the following forms: (i) pill; (ii) oil; (iii) topical forms, including gel, creams or ointments; (iv) a form medically appropriate for administration by vaporization or nebulization, excluding dry leaf or plant form… (v) tincture; or (vi) liquid. Unless otherwise provided in regulations adopted by the department under section 1202, medical marijuana may not be dispensed to a patient or a caregiver in dry leaf or plant form.”
* Please note: Smoking is NOT an approved method of delivery, as per SB 3.
The State of Pennsylvania has a legalized medical marijuana program, which allows patients to receive a medical marijuana recommendation from a certified physician, and apply for a state-issued Pennsylvania Medical Marijuana Card, permitting the patient to purchase marijuana for medicinal use, as per Pennsylvania state guidelines.
Since the Pennsylvania medical marijuana program is still changing their laws and new Pennsylvania medical marijuana laws are being enacted on a regular basis, please be sure to visit our site frequently to get the most updated laws as it pertains to the Pennsylvania medical marijuana program. Please click a corresponding link to find out more about Pennsylvania’s Medical Marijuana Program. We have compiled the following Pennsylvania medical marijuana index of information to serve as a medical library to our users for legal reference of Pennsylvania’s laws, guidelines and program details regarding medical cannabis use in Pennsylvania.
Please note: In order to become a legal medical marijuana patient you must first have a qualifying condition as outlined by the department of health services and/or department of justice. For a comprehensive list of Pennsylvania’s qualifying medical marijuana conditions, please visit our qualifying conditions section located on the top of our menu under “legal states”.