How to Qualify for a Pennsylvania Medical Marijuana Card
As more states legalize cannabis for medical and recreational purposes, the marketplace for products expands, increasing access for those in need.
Pennsylvania passed legislation to decriminalize medical marijuana in 2016, with products becoming available in 2018. Since then, amendments to the law have expanded access to product types, increased possession limits, and instituted other improvements.
Of course, before you can purchase legal cannabis products, you’ll have to register with the state medical marijuana program, administered by the Department of Health (DOH), and receive an ID card, and you must meet certain criteria to qualify.
At Green Choice Medical, we aim to make the process as easy and stress-free as possible. If you’re wondering how to get a medical marijuana card in Pennsylvania, we’re here to determine whether you qualify and help you complete the registration process remotely.
Are You Eligible to Get Medical Marijuana Card Online?
The laws regarding registering for a Pennsylvania medical marijuana card aren’t overly restrictive, but you will have to meet certain requirements to qualify. It’s not enough to suffer from chronic migraines or PTSD; you’ll have to provide the state with proof of your condition.
This proof comes in the form of certification from an approved doctor, and it can only be granted if you have a qualifying condition. Let’s take a closer look at the specifications to qualify for a medical marijuana online card.
Age and Residency Requirements
The Pennsylvania Medical Marijuana Program is reserved for residents of the state. You cannot register if your home address is in another state. If you have a medical marijuana ID from another state, you are not permitted to use it to purchase cannabis products at Pennsylvania dispensaries.
When you register for your medical marijuana card, you must provide proof of residency with a driver’s license or state ID card issued by PennDOT.
It’s important that the personal information you enter (name, birth date, address) matches your ID. Providing false information is illegal and could result in penalties in addition to your registration being denied.
Pennsylvania residents must be age 18 or older to qualify for participation in the medical marijuana program and receive an ID card.
What about patients under the age of 18? If a doctor recommends medical marijuana for a minor patient, a parent or guardian will have to register as a caregiver in order to get an ID card and purchase cannabis products on behalf of the minor.
Qualifying Conditions for Pennsylvania Medical Marijuana Card
If you meet the age and residency requirements to qualify for the medical marijuana program, the next step is to determine whether you have a health condition that makes you eligible to purchase and consume medical marijuana under the law. The list of qualifying conditions includes:
- Anxiety, including anxiety related to the COVID-19 pandemic
- Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis
- Cancer, including remission therapy
- Crohn’s disease
- Damage to the nervous tissue of the central nervous system (brain-spinal cord)
- Dyskinetic or spastic movement disorders
- Huntington’s disease
- Irritable bowel syndrome
- Intractable seizures
- Multiple sclerosis
- Neurodegenerative diseases
- Opioid use disorder
- Parkinson’s disease
- Post-traumatic stress disorder
- Severe, chronic, or intractable pain
- Sickle cell anemia
- Terminal illness
- Tourette syndrome
Figuring out how to get a medical marijuana card in Pennsylvania doesn’t have to be difficult or stressful when you have help. The compassionate and experienced team at Green Choice Medical is happy to guide you through the process and provide access to remote consultations with approved physicians.
Options for Minors and Impaired Individuals
Minors and other patients unable to purchase their own products will need the assistance of a caregiver. This person can register with the DOH to get medical marijuana card online.
A caregiver must be age 21 or over, and in addition to providing proof of residency, caregivers are required to submit to a background check. Any one patient may have up to two registered caregivers with the medical marijuana program. Under the law, a caregiver may serve up to five patients.
In addition, Governor Tom Wolf issued a Proclamation of Disaster Emergency in 2020, temporarily providing for caregivers to pick up and deliver cannabis products to an unlimited number of patients.
This measure was intended to help protect immunosuppressed patients by decreasing the potential risk of exposure from entering a dispensary location. As a result, patients have access to front-door delivery of needed supplies.
During the registration process, a caregiver may choose to share their name with patients seeking their services. This helps to increase access to necessary assistance for patients in need.
How to Get a Medical Marijuana Card in Pennsylvania
Once you have determined that you meet all the requirements to be eligible for participation in the state medical marijuana program, you’ll have to go through the process of registering to get a medical marijuana card online. This requires you to fill out a registration form, pay associated fees, and obtain certification from an approved doctor.
Certification from an Approved Doctor
Your medical condition must be certified by an approved doctor registered with the DOH.
This requirement can present several problems. What if your primary physician or specialist isn’t registered? What if you can’t find an approved doctor nearby? What if physical or mental health concerns make it difficult to visit a doctor in person?
Green Choice Medical offers an easy solution, with approved doctors that consult by phone, so you can complete your registration without leaving your home.
Whether mobility issues impair your ability to plan in-person appointments or the nearest approved doctor is so far away as to make travel prohibitive, it is possible to complete the registration process and obtain your Pennsylvania medical marijuana card remotely.
With assistance from Green Choice Medical, you can schedule a phone consultation with an approved doctor and complete the bulk of your registration online.
Schedule a Consultation
Green Choice Medical streamlines the process of getting your medical marijuana online card. Starting is simple enough; all you have to do is schedule an appointment for a consultation with one of our approved physicians.
First, you’ll select the type of service you need, whether you’re a new patient or a returning Green Choice Medical customer interested in renewing your existing medical marijuana ID card. It’s important to select the right option as it will determine the cost of your service.
Then, you’ll select a date when you’re available to schedule a consultation. From there, you can peruse available times on your date of choice, and if none are suitable, you can change the date to find a time that works better for you.
No Medical Records Required
Register with the State Medical Marijuana Program
The next step in determining how to get a medical marijuana card in Pennsylvania centers on registering with the state. Use our handy link to be directed to the Department of Health Medical Marijuana Program website.
Once there, you’ll select from options to register as an adult patient or caregiver or to log in as a returning user for renewal.
For new patients, the state has its own form to fill out. You’ll have to enter your name, date of birth, and address, along with contact information like phone and email. Also required is your driver’s license or state ID number.
It’s important that you enter all information correctly and that the details you provide match your ID. Making a false statement will invalidate your registration and could lead to penalties.
Complete a Consultation with an Approved Doctor
Now, it’s time to complete a consultation with an approved doctor through Green Choice Medical. You won’t have to show up for an in-person appointment. Your consultation will take place over the phone and include a conversation about your medical history and current health status.
The doctor must determine whether you suffer from one or more conditions that qualify for medical marijuana use under state law. If the doctor is satisfied that you qualify, a certification will be submitted with the program, and you’ll receive an email confirmation from the DOH instructing you to return to its website to complete your registration.
Finalize the Registration Process
When you return to the DOH website, you’ll be prompted to enter a payment of $50 for processing and issuing your Pennsylvania medical marijuana card. Once the fee is paid, the process is complete, and your ID card will be printed and mailed to you.
Processing and printing could take up to seven days, and you can reasonably expect your card to arrive within 14 days from the time of payment.
How to Renew Your Medical Marijuana Online Card
Your ID card from the medical marijuana program will remain valid for one year from the issue date listed on the card.
You will have to renew annually to keep your card active. The renewal process requires that you recertify with a doctor, but it doesn’t have to be the same doctor. Green Choice Medical makes the process easy with a phone consultation and reduced fees for returning patients.
When you near the date of renewal, you’ll receive reminder emails from the Department of Health. The first will be sent 60 days prior to your card expiring, and this is a good reminder to set up a renewal consultation with Green Choice Medical.
You will receive a second notification 30 days before your card expires, with instructions on how to renew and the deadline to pay state fees.
The deadline to pay is generally a week before expiration, and missing it could lead to your card being deactivated, so it’s important to schedule your consultation prior to this date.
Once the state receives certification from an approved doctor, you can pay the DOH fee, and the state will issue a new card, valid from the day after your current card expires.
What Happens After You Get Medical Marijuana Card Online?
Once you’ve figured out how to get a medical marijuana card in Pennsylvania and you complete the registration process, you are legally allowed to start purchasing cannabis at state dispensaries and consuming products.
However, there are rules and restrictions regarding where you can make purchases, how much you can purchase and possess, and how and where you may consume products.
Find a Licensed Dispensary Location near You
When the state initially legalized medical marijuana in 2016, it provided for the licensing of up to 50 dispensaries, with each allowed to open three locations.
Today, there are well over 100 dispensaries across the state offering medical cannabis to residents and caregivers who have successfully registered for a medical marijuana online card.
You can search for locations near you to visit, but thanks to the 2020 Proclamation of Disaster Emergency, you can also have a caregiver pick up your order and deliver it to your home. This delivery is ideal for immunosuppressed patients or who deal with mobility or other issues that make it difficult to leave the house.
Understand Different Products and Uses
Under the law, patients with a Pennsylvania medical marijuana card have access to a range of approved cannabis product types, including:
- Topical creams and ointments
- Non-whole plant products
- Whole plant products
Initially, whole-plant products were not permitted, but due to high patient demand, the law was amended in 2021 to include them. However, it remains illegal to smoke flower. Dry flower can be nebulized or vaporized, though, to facilitate inhalation.
It is also illegal for dispensaries to sell cannabis edibles. That said, patients who purchase whole plant products, tinctures, and so on may add them to food or beverages as an alternative form of consumption.
Adhere to Possession Limits
When you get medical marijuana card online, it’s natural to wonder how much product you can purchase and possess. In many states that have legalized cannabis for medical or recreational purposes, limits are set by volume.
For example, the amount of flower is limited to a certain number of ounces, while edibles may be limited by milligrams of primary cannabinoids like THC or CBD.
Pennsylvania has a different system. Initially, patients were allowed to purchase up to a 30-day supply of product, but that has since been increased to a 90-day supply.
How much this is will differ from one patient to the next, with daily dosage to be determined by a pharmacist. The state tracks purchases by patients to ensure legal limits are observed.
How and Where to Consume Medical Marijuana
It is illegal to consume any form of marijuana in public in the state of Pennsylvania, even if you’re registered, and you’ve legally purchased products from a licensed dispensary. You may legally consume products in homes or private residences.
Employers may also choose to allow employees to consume medical marijuana at their place of work, provided they have a valid ID card and legal products. That said, they are not required to allow this activity, so you’ll have to check your employer’s policies.
Safe and Responsible Transportation
Although medical marijuana is legal to purchase and possess in Pennsylvania with your medical marijuana online card, marijuana remains illegal at the federal level.
This law means that transporting it across state lines or within the boundaries of federal lands (such as national parks) is prohibited and could result in penalties, and you may not bring marijuana into Pennsylvania from other states. You can transport legal cannabis products in the state. However, it is not recommended.
Naturally, you’ll need to transport purchases from the dispensary to your home. That said, if you are found in possession of cannabis, you will have to provide your medical marijuana program ID card, and it’s best if the products remain in original packaging from the dispensary.
Don’t Get Discouraged if You’re Not Approved
Unfortunately, not every applicant will be approved for a medical marijuana online card. You may have a good sense of how to get a medical marijuana card in Pennsylvania but still not qualify.
If this is the case, you can try again later or consult with another approved physician for certification. If you are not approved by a Green Choice Medical doctor, your service fee will be refunded.
Benefits of Partnering with Green Choice Medical to Get Medical Marijuana Card Online
Applying for your Pennsylvania medical marijuana card with the help of Green Choice Medical is quick and easy. You’ll enjoy the convenience of registering remotely, thanks to online tools and a phone consultation with an approved physician.
This solves several potential problems, such as impaired mobility or mental health concerns that make it hard to leave the house, untenable travel to reach the nearest approved physician, or potential delays in scheduling an in-person appointment with a doctor, just for example.
At Green Choice Medical, we want to make your life easier in any way we can, starting with remote options that put you in control of your health and wellness journey. If you’re ready to get started, schedule your appointment for a consultation now, or feel free to contact us with any questions or concerns.