Using weed in Pennsylvania can be a high-wire act. If you follow the right procedures, and become a medical marijuana patient, then you can become eligible to get a supply from one of the state-sanctioned dispensaries However, if you don't follow the state regulations exactly or are a recreational user, you may find yourself fined or arrested. In this article, we will explore how to get you on the right side of the law and how to become a medical marijuana patient in Pennsylvania.
Pennsylvania has passed medical marijuana for qualifying patients but has not passes "adult-use" or recreational use of cannabis. That said, the times may be a-changin'. With the maneuvering for the 2022 Pennsylvania U.S. Senate race already begun, a number of Democratic candidates have started pushing for broader legalization. Leading the pack is current Lt. Gov. John Fetterman, who has made legalization a core issue in his campaign.
"It never should have been illegal in the first place. This is a plant with no known medical overdose," Fetterman said in an interview with Forbes "This is a plant now that's helped 350,000 people, just in my state alone, with their medical issues," referring to Pennsylvanians using medical cannabis, which was legalized in the state in 2016.
Columbia Care is a legal medical marijuana dispensary in Scranton, Pennsylvania.
How to Become a Medical Weed Patient in Pennsylvania
While medical use of weed is legal in Pennsylvania, a local law firm points out: "Possession of marijuana for recreational purposes is still illegal in this state, and failure to comply with the medical marijuana laws can be considered 'recreational' use, even when you intended to follow the law and use it for medical purposes."
As with any state authorizing the use of cannabis, residents of Pennsylvania need to be aware of the steps they must follow to become a medical marijuana patient, and how they acquired products from dispensaries and handle them afterwards.
To become a patient in Pennsylvania, you have to register on the Department of Health website, with a valid Pennsylvania driver's license or state-issued ID.
Once your account is created, you can see a doctor registered to certify cannabis patients with the Pennsylvania Department of Health. While the department has a list of qualified physicians, you can also go through HelloMD to get a Medical Card. Using this Telehealth services, you can arrange for an appointment with a qualified practitioner, who will answer any questions you may have via your computer, smartphone or tablet, and then lead you through the process of obtaining your medical documentation.
AMBER is a Pennsylvania brand offering high terpene extract vape pens.
While many doctors are not yet fully informed about weed's medical benefits, this is the specialty of HelloMD practitioners. Your healthcare practitioner will give you information and help you decide if cannabis is right for you.
Only people suffering from one or more of the following medical conditions can participate in Pennsylvania's medical marijuana program:
- Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis
- Anxiety disorders
- Cancer, including remission therapy
- Crohn's disease
- Damage to the nervous tissue of the central nervous system (brain-spinal cord) with objective neurological indication of intractable spasticity, and other associated neuropathies
- Dyskinetic and spastic movement disorders
- HIV / AIDS
- Huntington's disease
- Inflammatory bowel disease
- Intractable seizures
- Multiple sclerosis
- Neurodegenerative diseases
- Opioid use disorder for which conventional therapeutic interventions are contraindicated or ineffective, or for which adjunctive therapy is indicated in combination with primary therapeutic interventions
- Parkinson's disease
- Post-traumatic stress disorder
- Severe chronic or intractable pain of neuropathic origin or severe chronic or intractable pain
- Sickle cell anemia
- Terminal illness
- Tourette syndrome
After your registration is completed, you will receive an email from the Pennsylvania Department of Health detailing the steps remaining to receive your patient ID card, which has a $50 fee. There are also procedures in place to allow minors, through a parent or legal guardian, and caregivers (on behalf of a patient) to get access to medical cannabis.
Limits on Buying Medical Marijuana in Pennsylvania
Sanctioned weed dispensaries are allowed to sell up to a 30 day supply of the medicine to a qualified patient. They must keep accurate records of each amount obtained. Patients can then "re-up" their 30 days supplies in the last seven days of the amount they have.
Going over the 30-day supply amount is illegal under Pennsylvania drug possession laws and can trigger law enforcement action. Apparently, possession of 30 grams or less of marijuana is a misdemeanor, carrying the possible penalties of 30 days in jail and a fine of up to $500. Possession of more than 30 grams of cannabis can result in up to one year in jail and a fine of up to $5,000.
Almost the only place you can consume the weed is in your private residence, though in some cases you can take it at work, if your employer permits it. As a registered patient, you can transport your medical marijuana products in a car, within state lines, out of reach, in a closed, sealed container.
Your 30-day supply of medical cannabis can include:
- Cannabis flower
Weed flower is the most recent addition to the approved list in Pennsylvania and was previously unavailable. But it is important to note that smoking a cannabis flower is still illegal. To be used medicinally, it must be consumed by vaping.
Need Your Medical Marijuana Card in Pennsylvania?
HelloMD can help you with online virtual medical consultation and get your Pennsylvania medical card quickly and easily, with your privacy protected.