On one level, it’s getting easier by the month to obtain medical marijuana in Pennsylvania.

More and more doctors are available to certify patients. More growers and processors are coming on line. More dispensaries are opening.

Still, it’s not so simple as asking your doctor if it’s right for you and picking up a prescription on the way home. For one thing, you need a state-issued medical marijuana card. The card costs $50. And you have to apply for the card, which will arrive by mail.

In light of that, here are the steps to obtaining medical marijuana in Pennsylvania, followed by some other pertinent information about things such as whether you can use medical marijuana at work and whether it will prevent you from owning a gun.

The first step is to register for the program through the state-run Medical Marijuana Registry. You will have to create a profile. It’s worth noting that registration is open to adult patients as well as caregivers for adults or children who qualify for medical marijuana. Also, you will need a Pennsylvania driver’s license or an ID card from the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation.

The next step is to get certified by a doctor. You must get this from a doctor who has undergone training and obtained special approval from the state. Your family doctor or medical specialist might not be approved. Here is a list of approved doctors and their locations.

You must have one of the 21 serious medical conditions that can be treated with medical marijuana in Pennsylvania. The 21 conditions are:

  • Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis
  • Autism
  • 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
  • Epilepsy
  • Glaucoma
  • 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

After being certified by an approved doctor, you go back to the Medical Marijuana Registry to complete the application for a medical marijuana card. At this point you will pay the $50 for the card. Your card will come in the mail. It’s good for one year.

It’s worth noting that when completing the application, you can also designate up to two caregivers to help you in obtaining medical marijuana. This could be a spouse, a parent or a friend. However, your caregiver will also have to register for the medical marijuana program, including a background check.

Also, children under 18 are allowed to use medical marijuana. However, it must be given to them by a registered caregiver. Caregivers follow a procedure similar to the one used by patients. They too must pay $50 for a card. Someone convicted during the past five years of a drug-related crime is ineligible to be a caregiver.

After completing the steps outlined above, you are eligible for a medical marijuana ID card. The card allows you to go to a dispensary and purchase medical marijuana.

You can find the location of a medical marijuana dispensary by scrolling down to the map on this page.

Medical marijuana dispensaries have employees to discuss the medical marijuana product that might be best for you.

Finally, here are the legal basics: Marijuana, including medical marijuana, is illegal under federal law. But the federal government has taken a hands-off approach with medical marijuana. If someone possesses medical marijuana in a state where it’s legal, the federal government doesn’t enforce the federal law. If you’re carrying medical marijuana in Pennsylvania, you should keep your card with you as well.

But while medical marijuana is legal in Pennsylvania, medical marijuana patients can be prosecuted for driving under the influence if they are deemed to be intoxicated. Similarly, Pennsylvania employers don’t have to make any exceptions for medical marijuana patients. They are free to set their own policies regarding medical marijuana use by employees.

Having a medical marijuana card or using medical marijuana doesn’t interfere with the right to own a gun. In general, legal use of medical marijuana is protected by the HIPAA law, which protects protect medical privacy. There is no marking on the patient’s driver’s license, for example, to indicate the person has a medical marijuana card.

Source: PA Penn Live
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