Qualifying for medical marijuana in Pennsylvania
On April 17, 2016, Senate Bill 3 was signed into law allowing the possession, use, and cultivation of medical cannabis by patients who have entered into the Department of Health registry. This article was written to help patients obtain medical cannabis.
Step 1: Know the Law and Qualifying Conditions – Who can get medical cannabis?
Medical cannabis patients in Pennsylvania diagnosed with one of the following seventeen (17) debilitating, severe, or life-threatening medical conditions are only allowed to obtain medical cannabis:
- Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis
- Crohn’s Disease
- Damage to the nervous tissue of the spinal cord with objective neurological indication of intractable spasticity
- HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus) / AIDS (Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome)
- Huntington’s Disease
- Inflammatory Bowel Syndrome
- Intractable Seizures
- Multiple Sclerosis
- Parkinson’s Disease
- Post-traumatic Stress Disorder
- Severe chronic or intractable pain of neuropathic origin or severe chronic or intractable pain in which conventional therapeutic intervention and opiate therapy is contraindicated or ineffective
- Sickle Cell Anemia
Medical patients residents of Pennsylvania must be at least 18 years of age. Proof of residency can be proven with a passport, state of Pennsylvania identification, or an out of State photo identification with proof of residency such as bank statement, utility bill, etc. is acceptable.
Step 2: Get a Doctor’s Recommendation – Do I need to get my doctor involved to get medical cannabis?
Yes, patients must obtain legitimate medical records or documentation from your primary care physician describing the diagnosis of the patient’s qualifying condition. Make sure you bring the records to the marijuana evaluation appointment.
To procure medical cannabis, a medical patient will need to be under the continuing care of a doctor who is registered with the Department of Health (DOH). The patient must obtain a signed certification from a physician stating that the patient has a qualifying condition. The patient must then apply to the DOH for a medical cannabis patient identification card.You must submit your application and your forms with your doctor’s recommendation to the DOH. There is a $50 processing fee with your application. The department may waive or reduce the fee if the applicant demonstrates financial hardship. Once the patient receives an identification card, he or she can purchase medical marijuana at one of the 150 authorized dispensaries.
Once there are physicians in the registry you can find them on the following sites:
- Pennsylvania Approved Dispensaries
Step 3: Finding the closest Dispensaries – Where do I get medical cannabis products?
You can only procure medical marijuana from one of the 150 access points; unfortunately, no medical cannabis dispensary will have products until late 2017, early 2018, at the earliest. Dispensaries can be found using on of these search sites:
Step 4: Know your Limits- How much can I get?
Senate Bill 3
“(e) Supply.–When dispensing medical marijuana to a patient or caregiver, the dispensary may not dispense an amount greater than a 30-day supply until the patient has exhausted all but a seven-day supply provided pursuant to a previously issued certification until additional certification is presented under section 405.”
Step 5: Pick your Products – What types of medical cannabis products can I get in Pennsylvania?
The Pennsylvania market does not allow for the sale of dry flower aka buds. Only extracted products are available including:
- Topical forms, including ointments, creams, gel, or
- Vaporization or nebulization form medically appropriate for the DOH; and
To find out more about medical cannabis and how you can get treatment, contact us today.