Those who live in Pennsylvania, or even those who may be planning on visiting the state, are likely curious about the laws concerning medical marijuana in the state. If you are unaware, Pennsylvania voted to make medical marijuana legal in 2016 for those who qualify. However, legalization comes with its own set of rules and regulations that are important to understand.

Are There Medical Marijuana Dispensaries in Pennsylvania?

Yes, there are medical marijuana dispensaries in Pennsylvania. In fact, there are currently more than 150 of them throughout the state. Of course, Pennsylvania dispensary laws apply to every dispensary that opens in the state.

When a dispensary opens, they are allowed to open no more than three individual businesses under its dispensary license. This allows for a diversity of businesses throughout the state. All dispensaries must be able to prove they have the security protocol in place to ensure their product doesn’t get into the wrong hands.

While dispensaries are located throughout the state, Pennsylvania is not currently accepting applications for new dispensaries to be opened due to hitting the maximum allotted businesses under Phase II of the dispensary plan.

What is Covered Under Pennsylvania Medical Marijuana Laws?

Under medical marijuana laws in PA, individuals are able to apply for and obtain a medical marijuana card if they have a physician confirm that they suffer from one of the qualifying conditions under the PA medical marijuana card laws. In order to qualify for medical marijuana eligibility in PA, a patient must be diagnosed with at least one of the following:

·   Opioid Addiction (If medical cannabis is used as a substitute therapy)

·   Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS)

·   Autism

·   Cancer

·   Crohn’s Disease

·   Spinal cord nerve damage

·   Epilepsy

·   Glaucoma

·   HIV or AIDS

·   Huntington's Disease

·   Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBS)

·   Multiple Sclerosis

·   Neurodegenerative Diseases (including Alzheimer’s)

·   Parkinson’s Disease

·   Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

·   Chronic pain

·   Sickle Cell Anemia

·   Other terminal illnesses

It’s important to note that if you use medical marijuana without explicit permission from a medical professional, it is illegal, and you can face criminal charges.

All medical marijuana must come from state-approved medical dispensaries. This allows the state to ensure that medical marijuana is used as it is intended and that the system isn’t being abused.

Pennsylvania also allows for caregivers to apply for a medical marijuana card in the event that they are an immediate caregiver for someone who isn’t able to apply for a card themselves. All caregivers must be at least 21 years old and pass a thorough background check. Caregivers are able to care for up to five medical marijuana patients on their medical cards.

Recreational use of marijuana is currently illegal in the state of Pennsylvania. However, there is a push for legalization coming from all sides, including many current state politicians. As of April 2022, there are politicians working on editing and fine-tuning a bill proposal to legalize recreational use throughout the state.

The bill that’s in the works could be heard by the state government as early as this summer. Pennsylvania’s current governor has stated that he would sign the bill into law if it makes it to his desk so there’s a push to get the bill moving before he leaves office next year.

PA Medical Marijuana Purchase Limit

If you have a medical card in Pennsylvania, you may find yourself wondering “how much medical marijuana can I possess in PA?” Current PA medical marijuana limits allow for cardholders to possess up to 30 days’ worth of medical marijuana in their form of choice. The legal forms of medical cannabis in Pennsylvania include:

·   Marijuana flower

·   Creams

·   Gels

·   Liquids

·   Oils

·   Ointments

·   Pills

·   Tinctures

Marijuana flower is the most recent form of medical cannabis to be legalized in Pennsylvania. However, there are some regulations when it comes to the flower form. With cannabis flower as medical marijuana in Pennsylvania, smoking is not allowed. Cardholders can only consume marijuana flowers through vaporization. Ignoring this regulation can lead to criminal charges.

Medical marijuana dispensary laws require that all dispensaries keep a thorough record of all purchases that they handle. Patients are only able to refill their medical marijuana prescription when they have seven or fewer days’ worth of cannabis. Failure to follow these guidelines can lead to criminal charges and a loss of cardholder privileges.

Can You Grow Marijuana in Pennsylvania?

The only marijuana that can be grown in Pennsylvania is that grown by approved medical dispensaries. Due to Pennsylvania marijuana regulations, you aren’t authorized to grow your own medical marijuana, even if you’re only growing it for personal use.

It’s important to follow these regulations because being found with even one marijuana plant in your possession can lead to criminal charges. Of course, the charges will vary based on the amount you possess, but any criminal charges will hurt your record.

Does Pennsylvania Accept Out-Of-State MMJ Cards?

While medical marijuana is legal for certain residents of the state, PA medical marijuana laws do not allow for cannabis to be sold to those with out-of-state medical cards. Up until recently, there were guidelines that allowed for out-of-state minors to receive medical marijuana, but that has since been revoked.

In order to receive medical marijuana in Pennsylvania, you must be a PA citizen and hold a current medical marijuana card.

Pennsylvania Medical Marijuana Reciprocity

As stated above, PA medical marijuana reciprocity does not extend to those who are out of state. However, if you are a Pennsylvania cardholder, you may be wondering if reciprocity is given to you when traveling, especially since marijuana purchased in Pennsylvania is only authorized to be used in Pennsylvania.

If you have a Pennsylvania medical card and plan on traveling to another state, it’s vital that you know the laws when it comes to out-of-state cardholders. Some states allow visitors to use their cards, while others don’t allow it at all or require visitor cards. Here’s a quick rundown of the states that allow visitors to use their medical cards:

·   Arizona: If you are not a resident of Arizona and your qualifying condition is on their list of conditions, you are able to qualify as a visiting patient

·   Arkansas: If you have a valid Pennsylvania medical card, you can fill out a visiting patient form and purchase medical marijuana while there.

·   California: California won’t accept your Pennsylvania card, but they will allow you to apply for a visitor card while in the state.

·   Hawaii: Hawaii is similar to California, in that they have visitors apply for a visitor card instead of allowing you to use your out-of-state card.

·   Maine: Maine will allow you to use your Pennsylvania card but you have to register for their MMJ program in order to make purchases in their dispensaries.

·   Michigan: Michigan leaves the decision up to their dispensaries. This means you will need to contact a dispensary before showing up with your Pennsylvania medical card to see if they will accept it.

·   Missouri: Missouri allows those with a medical card from another state to possess the same amount of medical marijuana as their citizens (which is four ounces).

·   Montana: Montana will accept your Pennsylvania medical card as long as you have it on your person as well as your government-issued ID.

·   Nevada: Nevada accepts all states’ medical marijuana cards.

·   New Hampshire: If your condition is on New Hampshire’s list of qualifying conditions, then you are able to possess medical marijuana that you brought with you from Pennsylvania. However, you are not able to make a purchase at any of their dispensaries.

·   New Jersey: New Jersey will allow you to use your Pennsylvania medical card for up to six months while visiting the state. You are also able to get certified for medical marijuana by a New Jersey doctor using your Pennsylvania medical card. This is especially great news for Pennsylvania due to sharing a border with New Jersey.

·   New Mexico: New Mexico recognizes all out-of-state cards and is the most relaxed when it comes to using your medical card.

·   Oklahoma: Oklahoma will recognize your medical card but you will still need to fill out a visitor application in order to use it.

·   Utah: Utah will allow you to use your Pennsylvania medical card for up to 45 days before applying for a Utah card, as long as you meet their qualifying conditions.

Knowing these rules and regulations before you plan a trip will allow you to be prepared for the type of reciprocity you can expect as a Pennsylvania medical cardholder.

Takeaway

While medical marijuana is legal in Pennsylvania, there are still quite a bit of rules and regulations you must know if you want to receive a medical marijuana card. All medical cannabis patients must receive a referral from a medical professional in order to apply for a medical card. From there, all cardholders must purchase their medical marijuana from a licensed dispensary only and are unable to grow their own cannabis.

While recreational marijuana is not currently legal, there is an ongoing effort to change that fact. However, for the time being, make sure you are staying up-to-date on any changes to Pennsylvania medical marijuana laws.

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