Pennsylvania’s Medical Marijuana Program: The Dos and Don’ts!

Many people are still unsure of how to become eligible for the program and what it means, even though there will soon be a modest modification to the look of Pennsylvania Medical Marijuana cards. Marijuana is currently allowed in Pennsylvania, according to the Department of Health (DOH), but only for medical purposes, not for recreational use.

Therefore, in order to be eligible for the medicinal marijuana program, a person must live in Pennsylvania, have a “serious medical condition,” and have a certification from a physician who takes part in the program. As long as you have a current card and are registered with the program, it is legal to possess and use medicinal marijuana in Pennsylvania, according to officials.

To possess any portion of the plant or marijuana-related products for leisure or non-medical purposes is still prohibited. If you don’t have a Pennsylvania Medical Marijuana card, you risk being charged with criminal possession. The DOH states that in order to be eligible for the program, a person must have one of the 23 listed “severe medical problems”:

  • Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis;
  • Anxiety disorders;
  • Autism;
  • Cancer, including remission therapy;
  • Crohn’s disease;
  • Damage to the nervous tissue of the central nervous system (brain-spinal cord) with an objective neurological indication of intractable spasticity, and other associated neuropathies;
  • Dyskinetic and spastic movement disorders;
  • Epilepsy;
  • Glaucoma;
  • HIV / AIDS;
  • Huntington’s disease;
  • Inflammatory bowel disease;
  • Intractable seizures;
  • Multiple sclerosis;
  • Neurodegenerative diseases;
  • Neuropathies;
  • 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; and
  • Tourette syndrome.

There are four phases to taking part in Pennsylvania’s medical marijuana program, according to the DOH website:

  1. Register for Pennsylvania’s Medical Marijuana Program on the DOH website;
  2. See an approved doctor to get certified;
  3. Pay for your medical marijuana ID card;
  4. Visit a PA dispensary with your medical marijuana ID card.

The first step, according to the DOH, if you think you may have one of these medical disorders, is to register on the DOH website. Your first and last name must match perfectly on a valid driver’s license or state-issued ID, so be sure you have one of those on hand. Pennsylvania medical marijuana ID cards will undergo changes.

You’ll need to make a username and password once your information has been validated. You are now registered in the program when you see a screen with your account information, including your Patient ID number, once this step is finished. In order for a participating physician to certify that you suffer from one of the 23 serious medical conditions that qualify you for medicinal marijuana.

you must first visit that physician. According to the DOH, you need this certification to obtain your official medical marijuana ID card. Additionally, the DOH website states that before visiting a recognized physician, you should register online and receive your patient ID number.

The next step, according to the DOH, is to pay for your patient ID card after the doctor certifies you. You must go to the PA DOH Medical Marijuana Program login page and log in using the username and password you created when registering in order to do this.

Once you have successfully paid for your medical marijuana ID card, you will receive a confirmation when you click the “Make Payment” option and complete the on-screen directions. The cost of the medicinal marijuana ID card is $50, according to the DOH website. However, persons who take part in the gov’t initiatives listed below may be eligible for a free medical marijuana ID card:

  • Medicaid,
  • CHIP,
  • SNAP,
  • and WIC.

From the time you paid for your ID card, it takes 7 days to print, and it takes 14 days to arrive in the mail. The address listed in your patient profile will receive your card in the mail. Finally, the DOH notes that once you have your medical marijuana ID card, you are able to lawfully buy marijuana for medical purposes at any dispensary located inside the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

Nevertheless, some dispensaries could need you to make an appointment for your initial visit. Despite being permitted to legally possess the plant by patients with active medical marijuana cards, there are still rules and requirements to adhere to.

Previously, clinics could only sell a 30-day supply of medical marijuana to patients; now, they can buy three months’ worth from their registered dispensary. The following are some significant patient laws to be aware of in Pennsylvania, which continues to classify marijuana as a Schedule I drug:

  • Medical marijuana may only be consumed in homes or private residences.
  • In Pennsylvania, growing your own marijuana plant is still illegal.
  • Patients/caregivers can transport medical marijuana in a closed, sealed container stored out of reach but only within state lines.

Driving under the influence of marijuana is prohibited, not even for Pennsylvania residents with a current medical marijuana card. A person who has any “THC” in their system is prohibited from operating a car in Pennsylvania. The primary psychoactive component of marijuana is THC, which presents certain legal challenges because it can linger in a user’s system for days, weeks, or even months following marijuana use.

Consequently, even after the effects of marijuana have worn off, a person might still be accused of and found guilty of DUI. The Martin Law Firm states that the following are the sanctions for marijuana-related DUI:

First Offense

  • Misdemeanor
  • Imprisonment from 72 hours to 6 months
  • Fine of $1000 to $5000
  • Alcohol highway safety school
  • License suspension of at least 18 months
  • 150 hours of community service
  • Attend victim impact panel

Second offense

  • Misdemeanor
  • Imprisonment from 90 days to 6 months
  • Fine of at least $1,500
  • Alcohol highway safety school
  • License suspension of at least 18 months
  • 150 hours of community service
  • Attend victim impact panel

Third offense

  • 2nd-degree misdemeanor
  • Imprisonment for at least 1 year
  • Fine of not less than $2,500
  • License suspension of at least 18 months
  • 150 hours of community service
  • Attend a victim impact panel

The Medical Marijuana Program in Pennsylvania appears to be a useful resource for people who require it for medical reasons. It’s crucial to keep in mind that for those who are not participating in the program, marijuana is still regarded as a Schedule I substance under Pennsylvania law. And those who are must act appropriately when using it. For additional information about registration, locating a licensed physician, locating a dispensary, or the program’s rules and regulations, please go here.

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