Today, in Pennsylvania and 35 other states in the United States, medical marijuana can be used legally as a viable treatment option for a range of medical and psychological conditions.
Despite being legalized, however, individuals still need to qualify and receive permission to use medical marijuana for the treatment of medical conditions. This means qualifying for a medical marijuana (MMJ) card.
The medical marijuana card gives you the ability to legally purchase and use medical marijuana within your state. To be eligible for the card, you need to have a medical condition that can be treated with medical marijuana.
Like many legal certifications, the MMJ card will need to be renewed every year after you receive it. Once the card expires, you’ll no longer be able to use medical marijuana legally until you go through with the MMJ recertification process.
Recertification, however, does need to be delayed until your medical marijuana card expires; you can renew your card 30 to 60 days before its expiry date.
Here’s a look into how you can go about this process.
What you will need
MMJ recertification is a fairly straightforward process and it’s not too different from your initial application.
For a renewal, you will need the following documents:
When you first applied for your medical marijuana card, you would have consulted a certified doctor to determine if your condition qualifies for medical marijuana treatment.
To do so, they would have taken a look at various medical records to make a decision. When applying for your recertification, make sure these records are updated.
Like before, your ID card is compulsory. You will still need to provide proof that you are indeed a resident of the state when renewing your card.
Your original MMJ card
For renewal process, you will need to present your old MMJ card.
The follow-up evaluation
Once you’ve got the necessary documents ready, schedule a follow-up evaluation with your physician.
The evaluation will be a lot like your first one, but this time, the physician may ask you a different set of questions than before. This time, they’ll focus on asking you about your current health status and how medical marijuana has helped you with your condition.
The physician may also make a treatment plan for you, and ask you if you experienced any side effects from using medical marijuana in the past year. After this, they’ll determine if you still qualify for an MMJ card.
Keep in mind, however, that even though you passed the evaluation for the MMJ card the first time around, this doesn’t guarantee that you will qualify for a renewal.
Submitting your application
After you’ve received your physician’s approval, you can start applying for a new card through the PA Department of Health.
If any of your personal information has changed over the past twelve months, you’ll need to mention these changes in your application and have the new certification issued by your physician as well.
Remember that in some states, there may be certain time limits on the reapplications for MMJ cards, so try to get through the whole process completed within a month of receiving your physician’s approval.
Getting your new card
Once you’ve sent in your application, your card should arrive soon. How long this takes will, however, depend on your state’s Department of Health or the agency you gave your documents to.
Generally, you may receive the card within 14 business days after you submit your application and it will remain valid for one year.
This process may not be the same in every state, so check in with your state’s Department of Health if you’re unsure of what to do.
Don’t delay your MMJ recertification
Generally, you receive an email reminding you that your MMJ card is about to expire—you can expect this email around 60 days before the expiry.
Once you do, make sure you renew your card as soon as possible to continue experiencing the various health benefits of physician-approved medical marijuana.