Medical marijuana became legal in Pennsylvania in 2016 and has been available to registered patients since 2018. There are two ways to get a medical marijuana card in the Keystone state: on your own or with the help of an online service like NuggMD. To help you get a medical marijuana card in Pennsylvania, NuggMD provides a quick, online process connecting you to a state-licensed doctor in minutes and delivering your paperwork and approval within 48 hours. Alternatively, you can find a doctor and the necessary paperwork on your own. In this guide, we’ll walk you through the steps you need to take to get a medical marijuana card in Pennsylvania.
Step 1: Register for Pennsylvania’s MMJ Program
Before you meet with a doctor or complete an application, you need to register for Pennsylvania’s MMJ program online through the Medical Marijuana Registry. All adult patients, caregivers, and physicians must register with the state before moving on to the next step. To complete your registration, you’ll need to provide your name, email address, phone number, Pennsylvania driver’s license, and residence address. If you do not have a driver’s license or ID card, you can find out how to obtain one on Pennsylvania’s DMV Services website.
Step 2: Schedule an Appointment with a Pennsylvania-Licensed Physician
After registering with the Medical Marijuana Registry, you will need to schedule an appointment with an approved, state-licensed physician. In order to provide certification for medical marijuana in Pennsylvania, physicians must register with Pennsylvania’s Department of Health (DOH). All DOH-registered physicians as of September 29,2020 are named on this list of DOH-approved practitioners, but you can look out for updates by checking the DOH’s guide to getting medical marijuana in Pennsylvania or through your Medical Marijuana Registry profile. The purpose of the appointment is for the physician to confirm that you have one of the following qualifying medical conditions:
- Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS)
- 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 (MS)
- 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
The physician will submit the certification directly to the state through the Medical Marijuana Registry.
Step 3: Complete Your Application
Once your physician certifies your diagnosis of a qualifying medical condition, you’ll need to complete your application online through the Medical Marijuana Registry. You are permitted to have up to two caregivers to help you obtain medical marijuana. In Pennsylvania, a caregiver can be a friend, spouse, or parent. MMJ patients under 18 years old are required to have a caregiver. Like patients, caregivers must register with the state online through the Medical Marijuana Registry. Caregivers are also required to submit a background check along with their applications.
Step 4: Pay for Your MMJ Card
You can pay for your MMJ card online through the Medical Marijuana Registry once your physician submits certification and you complete your application. Obtaining an MMJ card in Pennsylvania costs $50 a year. The state may provide discounts to patients enrolled in a financial assistance program such as Medicaid, PACE/PACENET, CHIP, SNAP, or WIC. The DOH will mail your MMJ card to the address you provided in your application once you receive approval. You can use your Pennsylvania MMJ card to purchase cannabis from one of the state-licensed medical marijuana dispensaries located near you.
Step 5: Renew Your MMJ Card
You’ll need to renew your MMJ card registration annually for $50 unless you are eligible for financial assistance. You will receive an email notification reminding you about your upcoming renewal date 60 days before your card expires. You’ll receive another email providing instructions on how to complete the renewal process 30 days before your card’s expiration date. In Pennsylvania, your renewal payment is typically due roughly a week before your MMJ card expires. The state will deactivate your MMJ card if you miss that deadline but will immediately reactive it once you make your payment online. In order to successfully complete the renewal process, you’ll need to receive certification from a registered, state-licensed physician confirming that you still have a qualifying medical diagnosis. You do not have to receive certification from the same doctor who approved your initial MMJ card registration. You can see a different physician each year.
Skip the Steps & Use an Online Service
In the steps outlined above, you’ll need to do the work of finding the right doctor, scheduling an appointment, obtaining the necessary paperwork, and submitting all required payments on your own. Even though there are only four steps to the initial registration process, managing all of that without a second pair of eyes can lead to mistakes that prevent your application from being accepted and you from accessing your medicine. For $139, you can use NuggMD’s online service to get all of that done at once. Once you create an account, NuggMD will connect you to a state-licensed physician. NuggMD physicians are available between 8 AM and 10 PM, 7 days a week, so you’ll be able to video chat with your doctor in minutes. All you need to do is fill out a questionnaire and upload your medical records. If you receive approval from the doctor, NuggMD will deliver the necessary documents and guidance you need to get your MMJ card. If you aren’t approved, NuggMD won’t charge you for using their service. NuggMD provides the reassurance and convenience you’re looking for if you’re ready to access MMJ in Pennsylvania and want to make sure you get through the process without making a mistake on your application.