Medical Marijuana in Pennsylvania


Medical Marijuana Use in Pennsylvania
Andrews and Patel Hematology and Oncology

What is Medical Marijuana?
The term medical marijuana refers to using the whole unprocessed marijuana plant or its basic extracts to treat a disease or symptom. The marijuana plant contains chemicals that may help treat a range of illnesses or symptoms, prompting a growing number of states – including Pennsylvania – to legalize marijuana for medical use.

Who will be Able to Access Medical Marijuana?
Patients with serious medical conditions, including cancer, will be able to access medical marijuana with a physician’s certification at designated state dispensaries. Please refer to Pennsylvania Department of Health website for these conditions.

What is the Process for Patients to Qualify for Medical Marijuana?
To purchase medical marijuana, a patient will need to be under the continuing care of a physician who is registered with the Department of Health. The physician may then provide a signed certification to the patient stating that the patient has a serious medical condition. The patient must then apply to the department for an identification card. Once the patient receives an identification card, he or she can purchase medical marijuana at an authorized dispensary.

How will Patients Apply for Medical Marijuana Identification Cards?
In the future, identification cards can be obtained with a certification from a registered physician and a completed, approved application submitted to the Department of Health. The Department of Health will make it as easy as possible for patients to apply for medical marijuana identification cards. The department is reviewing how it can make applications available to patients on its website.

When will the Medical Marijuana Program be Implemented in Pennsylvania?
Governor Tom Wolf signed the bill on April 17, 2016 and Pennsylvania became the 24th state in the US to legalize medical marijuana use. The new law - Act 16 - goes into effect on May 17, 2016. The implementation of the program is expected to take between 18 and 24 months and, when completed, will offer medical marijuana to patients who are under a physician’s care for the treatment of a serious medical condition. This means the earliest time for medical marijuana to be available in Pennsylvania will be around November 2017.

Important Links:
Patient and Caregiver FAQ
2016 Act 16- Medical Marijuana Act

Last updated: October 15, 2016.
Resource: Pennsylvania Department of Health and Pennsylvania Medical Society.