Today, I’m going to focus on how to get medical marijuana in Pennsylvania.
There’re a couple steps to get medical marijuana in Pennsylvania.
Now, before I start, it’s important to know that you must be a resident of Pennsylvania to be a patient under the Pennsylvania Medical Marijuana Program. You’ll be required to show valid proof of residency in Pennsylvania.
STEP 1: create a patient profile in the Pennsylvania Department of Health’s Patient and Caregiver Registry.
STEP 2: get a physician’s certification that you suffer from one of the following serious medical conditions,
- Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (Lou Gehrig’s Disease)
- Crohn’s Disease
- Damage to the nervous tissue of the spinal cord with objective neurological indication of intractable spasticity
- Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) / Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS)
- Huntington’s Disease
- Inflammatory Bowel Disease
- 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
What is a patient certification?
The patient certification confirms that you have one of the serious medical conditions defined in the Pennsylvania Medical Marijuana Act, and that medical marijuana may benefit you. You cannot participate in the program without a patient certification.
How do you get a patient certification?
Only doctors approved by the Pennsylvania Department of Health can issue patient certifications.
How do you know if your doctor’s ben approved by the Pennsylvania Department of Health to issue patient certifications?
- He/she has to have a valid, unexpired, unrevoked, unsuspended Pennsylvania license to practice medicine.
- He/she must demonstrate training or expertise in treating serious medical conditions.
- He/she must successfully complete the required 4-hour course established by the Pennsylvania Department of Health.
- And, most importantly, he/she must be registered with the Pennsylvania Department of Health to issue patient certifications.
If your doctor is not approved, then the Pennsylvania Department of Public Health does provide a list of approved doctors on their website.
STEP 3: return to the Patient and Caregivers Registry and pay for a medical marijuana ID card.
What happens next?
The Pennsylvania Department of Health makes the determination on issuing the medical marijuana ID to the patient.
It’s important to know that the Pennsylvania medical marijuana ID card is valid for a year. And, patients must have a doctor issue a new patient certification at each annual renewal.
STEP 4: obtain medical marijuana from an approved medical marijuana dispensary in Pennsylvania.
Medical Marijuana is limited by statute in Pennsylvania to the following forms:
- Topical forms, including gels, creams, or ointments
- A form medically appropriate for administration by vaporization or nebulization
Dried leaves, plant materials, and edibles are strictly prohibited.
And, your doctor determines the form that’s most appropriate for you.
Each medical marijuana dispensary operation is required to employ a medical professional during all hours that the medical marijuana dispensary is open.
The medical professional can be a doctor, a physician’s assistant, a pharmacist, or a certified nurse practitioner who has completed the required 4-hour training and registered with the Pennsylvania Department of Health. They’re there to help you. They’re there to offer consultative advice to you, the patient. But, know that the medical professional hired by the medical marijuana dispensary cannot issue a patient certification.
Know that the laws on medical marijuana are constantly changing. So, please check the Pennsylvania Department of Health Medical Marijuana Program website for updates. I’ve included a link to the website below.
If after getting your doctor’s certification, you’re still lost or confused about how to safely use medical marijuana, I’m more than happy to help you. Head on over to the GET HELP page for more info.