As one of 24 states without a voter ballot initiative process, it may take some time — even years — for Pennsylvania to pass adult-use or recreational cannabis. The good news: February, 2018, Pennsylvania started legally selling medical cannabis, and better yet, medical marijuana patients pay no sales tax in the Keystone State.
How to Become a Medical Marijuana Patient in Pennsylvania
The process for becoming a medical marijuana patient in Pennsylvania is very simple.
Step 1: Get a Marijuana Account with the Government in Pennsylvania
Sign up with PA’s Medical Marijuana Registry.
Have your Pennsylvania Driver’s License or State ID handy, as you’ll be asked to input that information. You will also be asked for your name, date of birth, unique email address (one person per email address may sign up), and local address. Contact the Pennsylvania DMV should you need to get a Driver’s License or State ID.
Step 2: Get Certified as a Patient in Pennsylvania
Get certified as a medical marijuana patient.
Your next step is getting certified by a physician with one of Pennsylvania’s qualifying medical conditions. The Pennsylvania Department of Health has a helpful and exhaustive list of Medical Marijuana Approved Practitioners.
Do a quick search to see if your personal healthcare provider is on the list, or call their office and ask. You may also schedule a telemedicine appointment in the comfort of your own home through HelloMD. Your doctor will upload your approved certification to the Medical Marijuana Registry.
Assigning a Caregiver: Patients may designate up to two caregivers who can procure cannabis on the patient’s behalf. Patients under the age of 18 must have a parent or legal guardian assigned as their caregiver. To become a legal guardian, you must be at least 21 and register in the Pennsylvania Medical Marijuana Registry, as well. You can find more information on caregiver requirements on the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania website.
Step 3: Complete Your Government Application in Pennsylvania
Complete your application.
After receiving your physician’s certification, you'll complete your application by logging in again to the Medical Marijana Registry. Have your credit or debit card ready. Complete your application.
Next, you'll pay your fee and you will be prompted to make a payment of $50 fee for your medical marijuana ID card. Low-income participants in the program may request a lower fee. Your card will be mailed to your address and will be valid for one year.
The DOH system is set up to automatically kick out an email sixty days before your cannabis card expires, so you may re-up. You will need another doctor’s visit and certification, but you are not tied to the same doctor.
Step 4: Purchase Your Weed in Pennsylvania
Find and visit a dispensary! Purchase your cannabis!
Once you receive your card in the mail, you’re ready to take a trip to your local dispensary! The PA DOH has posted a list of medical marijuana dispensaries for you to search and find one that’s convenient. Check the dispensary’s website for policies and acceptable methods of payment.
Meet the Bud Pharmacist in a Pennsylvania Dispensary
Unique to half a dozen states is the added benefit of pharmacists and/or physicians on staff at dispensaries. On your first visit, you’ll be required to meet and consult with one of these medical professionals. Appointments are generally not needed, but check with your dispensary before you go.
During your consult, the pharmacist will discuss dosing and products with you, and determine your best course of action to treat your health condition. They’ll also issue a recommendation for your 30-day supply of products and amounts, which they will file with the state. This is the maximum amount of cannabis you’ll be able to purchase each month.
If you find this amount too low, you can reconnect with your certifying physician and request the 30-day maximum be raised.
Tips for Purchasing Cannabis in Pennsylvania
Remember, cannabis is still illegal at the federal level, so it’s fairly frequent that debit card companies processing cannabis transactions get shut down. Some stores may require cash payment. Also, after your initial visit and consult with the pharmacist or physician, your dispensary may allow you to pre-order online and pick up curbside.
Use best practices when you transport cannabis. Keep it unopened, in its original packaging, in a locked trunk. While Pennsylvania state law does not stipulate where you may medicate, it’s always best to use your medical cannabis in a private space, like your own home. If you’re a renter, be sure to check your lease.
Need Your Medical Marijuana Card?
HelloMD can help you with online virtual medical consultation and get your medical card fast, easy and private.