How to Get a Medical Marijuana Card in Pennsylvania
12.30.20 - 4 min read
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Once you have a medical marijuana card, you have access to hundreds of products that can potentially help relieve pain, reduce anxiety, and improve symptoms of a number of chronic and sometimes debilitating conditions. You’ve just got to get that card in hand—and we can help.
Getting a medical marijuana card in Pennsylvania requires a four-step process that sounds simple—and it basically is—but it can be helpful to be aware of some common issues so that you can avoid them.
Alex Adams, a community outreach specialist for RISE Dispensaries, with 13 locations in Pennsylvania, is happy to talk new patients through the process and offer expert advice for the smoothest journey from potential medical marijuana patient to MMJ card holder.
“Sometimes people find the registration process a bit tricky, but we have navigated a lot of these hiccups, and can help potential new patients avoid them.”
Read on for a step-by-step guide and her best advice.
The first step is to register as a medical marijuana patient with the Pennsylvania Department of Health. You’ll need a driver’s license or state-issued photo ID, and to be 18 years old. Caregivers buying medical cannabis for someone else, including a minor, must register and must complete a criminal background check. For patients themselves, a criminal background—even involving a felony—is not disqualifying.
To buy medical cannabis, you need a certification from a doctor that you have an approved condition. You can’t see just any doctor, though; certifying physicians need to register with the health department and undergo special training. The health department has a list of approved practitioners online, and many of them will do virtual appointments. The certifying physician likely will contact your primary care physician for medical records. You’ll need to see a doctor once a year for recertification, but it doesn’t have to be the same doctor from year to year.
To keep your medical marijuana card active, you’ll have to pay $50 to the state every year. Those who qualify for government assistance, such as Medicaid, pay a reduced fee of $25. After you’re certified by a doctor, you return to the registration site to pay. Again, this is not covered by insurance.
Your PA medical card will look just like a driver’s license, and it will even bear the same photo of you. Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, cards arrived in the mail three to five days after the fee was paid, but this year, the wait has sometimes been up to three weeks, Adams says.
A final expert tip: Don’t be afraid to ask questions, whether you’re trying to get your medical marijuana card or figure out what to do now that you have it. At RISE, a licensed pharmacist is ready to help you access cannabis as medicine and excited to talk to you about improving your health.
Find a RISE dispensary near me, give us a call, or send us a message today.