Pennsylvania is a relatively small U.S. state, with a population of just shy of 13 million people (less than half the population of Texas) according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Although Pennsylvania isn’t a highly populated state, it’s home to the highest concentration of Amish people in the country. Aside from the specific demographics and population size, the majority of Pennsylvania residents support a medical marijuana program. As a result, Pennsylvania lawmakers approved of and signed a medical marijuana program into law on April 17th of 2016. Read on to find out whether you’re eligible for a medical marijuana card in Pennsylvania and how you can obtain one.
Obtaining a Pennsylvania Medical Marijuana Card
Similar to other U.S. states with medical marijuana programs, Pennsylvania has a list of qualifying medical conditions, diseases, and illnesses that individuals must be diagnosed with in order to be eligible to receive a medical marijuana card. Under the Pennsylvania Medical Marijuana Act, individuals who are residents of the state’s commonwealth and who have a serious medical condition, disease, and/or illness can attain a medical marijuana card. However, by state law, these individuals must receive a certified physician’s approval/recommendation beforehand, as stated by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.
In addition, individuals who are younger than eighteen years old can receive a medical marijuana card too as long as they have been diagnosed with one of the state’s qualifying medical issues. However, they must have a caregiver apply on their behalf, and all caregivers must be registered with the specific state’s department of health to legally obtain medical marijuana for someone else.
Furthermore, in order for patients to obtain a medical marijuana card, they must register for Pennsylvania’s medical marijuana program through the online patient and caregivers’ registry. Then, all patients must receive a patient certification from a state-approved practitioner before completing the registration process to obtain a medical marijuana card. Additionally, both medical marijuana patients and caregivers over the age of eighteen must show proof of Pennsylvania residency via a driver’s license or a state-issued ID card with their current address listed on it, according to the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.
Pennsylvania’s List of Qualifying Medical Conditions, Diseases, and Illnesses
Some of the medical issues that qualify patients for a medical marijuana card in Pennsylvania include autism, cancer, Crohn’s disease, epilepsy, chronic pain, glaucoma, multiple sclerosis, PTSD, sickle cell anemia, HIV/AIDS, Huntington’s disease, inflammatory bowel disease, Parkinson’s disease, neuropathies, and several others.
Regardless of their condition, individuals who are eligible to receive a state medical marijuana card will be given the opportunity to receive a safe, effective, and legal method of medicine. Different studies have shown that medical marijuana can help patients suffering from serious medical conditions by not only alleviating pain and discomfort, but also by improving their quality of life.
How to Get a Medical Marijuana Card in Pennsylvania
If you or someone you know has been diagnosed with any of the medical issues listed above, then the next step is to register into the Pennsylvania medical marijuana registry program. As of November 1st of 2017, the state of Pennsylvania launched its patient registry program. Here’s the step-by-step process:
- Visit Pennsylvania’s Department of Health’s patients and caregivers’ registry, and create a patient profile, which includes your birthday, address, and other personal information
- Obtain a physician’s certification/recommendation, which will show that you suffer from one of the seventeen medical conditions on the state’s list
- Return to the registry and pay for a medical marijuana card, which costs $50
- Receive your medical marijuana card from an approved Pennsylvania dispensary once they’re open
- Use your state-approved medical marijuana card to walk into any licensed dispensary and buy medicinal marijuana in the form of liquids, gels, ointments, tinctures, oils, capsules, and vaporizable material
So far, more than 100 physicians have been approved as practitioners for the state’s medical marijuana program, as stated by Philadelphia magazine. It’s likely for this number to increase as the state works out various kinks, and especially since Pennsylvania will eventually have up to 150 authorized dispensaries. It’s estimated by Pennsylvania lawmakers that medical marijuana patients should be able to receive medical marijuana in early 2018, which is exciting to say the least.
Benefits of Having a Medical Marijuana Card in Pennsylvania
According to Pennsylvania law, patients who possess a medical marijuana card won’t be arrested, prosecuted, or sent to jail for using or holding marijuana as long as they don’t possess more than the state’s allowed amount.
Under Pennsylvania’s Medical Marijuana Act, patients can possess a month’s supply of medicinal marijuana to treat any of the state’s approved medical conditions. Although only a limited number of Pennsylvania residents can obtain a medical marijuana card, new medical conditions are being added onto the state’s list as time goes on. Stay tuned to see the progress that Pennsylvania’s medical marijuana program makes and the impact it has on their sick residents.
To learn more about Pennsylvania’s 2018 marijuana laws, check out the informative article here.
Learn about the anatomy of the marijuana plant by reading the interesting article here.
Article by: Nicole Skrobin