Updated on April 25, 2018.
Medical content reviewed by Dr. Richard Koffler, MD, Board Certified Physiatrist
Gov. Tom Wolf signed a law legalizing medical cannabis in Pennsylvania in April 2016. One of the medical marijuana facts for Pennsylvania that frustrated supporters of legalization was that it took so long to happen. The Pennsylvania Senate first approved a bill legalizing medical weed in 2015, but it was not approved by the entire legislature until March 2016.
Several technical changes needed to be made before both chambers could finally agree on a final bill.
Medical Marijuana Facts for Pennsylvania
- Under current Pennsylvania State law, an individual who is arrested for possession of up to an ounce of marijuana can be sentenced to a maximum of thirty days in jail and fined up to $500. Additionally, simple possession of marijuana arrests account for nearly 80% of all marijuana-related arrests in the state of Pennsylvania.
- In the state of Pennsylvania in 2007, there were 25,973 arrests made for marijuana offenses. This represented an arrest rate of around 207 per 100,000. Per capita, this ranks the state of Pennsylvania as number thirty-nine in the nation.
- In terms of the overall severity of a maximum sentence for marijuana possession, the state of Pennsylvania ranks number forty-two in the nation. In terms of penalties for just under one ounce of marijuana, Pennsylvania ranks ninth in the country.
- During the year 2007, there were 973,000 reported annual marijuana users in the state of Pennsylvania, 530,000 of which reported the use of marijuana within the past month. The number of annual marijuana users in the state of Pennsylvania decreased from 1,020,000 in 2003 to 973,000 in 2007. This presented an average annualized change of around 1% each year.
- There are several qualifying conditions for which patients in Pennsylvania can obtain medical cannabis. These include Crohn’s disease, autism, glaucoma, sickle cell anemia, spasticity, chronic, severe pain, epilepsy, Parkinson’s disease, cancer, HIV/AIDS and many others.
- In order to be able to recommend cannabis to their patients, physicians need to complete a four-hour course. They must sign a certificate stating that the patient not only has a qualifying condition but also that the doctor believes that patient will be able to benefit from medical cannabis use.
- There are several forms of cannabis that patients can use, including oils, pills, creams, ointments, liquids, gels and more. Vaporization is allowed, but not smoking of the plant. While dispensaries are not allowed to sell edible forms of weed, the law allows patients to mix medicinal cannabis into drinks or food in order to help them ingest it.
- If you are a patient in another state, you are not allowed to access medical weed in Pennsylvania.
- The registration fee to become a licensed commercial grower or processor of medicinal cannabis in Pennsylvania is $200,000. The fee for commercial dispensaries is $30,000.
If you are interested in medical marijuana facts for Pennsylvania or any other state, MarijuanaDoctors.com will provide updates on a regular basis. We want to be your source for information on this extremely important issue, so check back with us often.