Pennsylvania has legalized medical marijuana (Medical Marijuana Act, 35 P.S. Section 10: 231.101
) for individuals who suffer from certain medical conditions and illnesses. I have highlighted these illnesses and conditions in a previous article and I encourage you to read it for more information. I also enourage you to read my article on how medical marijuana can affect your gun permit in the Commonwealth and my article on CBD oil vs. THC (great information on DUI as well)
If a person is eligible for this controversial drug, he or she must obtain an identification card from the Pennsylvania Department of Health to lawfully use medical marijuana. Remember, marijuana is a controlled substance (Schedule I) and it is still a crime to possess it without a prescription, even if the law indicates that you are eligible to consume it based on a prior, existing, or new condition.
The Procedure Obtaining a Medical Marijuana Identification Card
The Pennsylvania Department of Health has developed a specific procedure for someone to obtain an ID card. To obtain an ID card a patient must complete an application which is available on the department’s website. If the patient has a caregiver, the patient and the caregiver must submit separate applications and, if approved, they will each receive a card. Each application must include the following:
Name, address, and date of birth of the patient
Name, address, date of birth of the caregiver
Certification of the medical practitioner (doctor)
Name, address, and telephone number of the doctor and required documentation indicating that the patient is eligible for this treatment
$50 processing fee (which can be waived if the applicant demonstrates a financial hardship)
Signature of the applicant
The ID Card's Expiration Date
If the department issues an identification card, it is only good for 1 year from the date of issuance. If the patient or caregiver moves or changes addresses, he or she must notify the department within 10 days of that move. If the ID card is lost or somehow destroyed, the patient or caregiver must notify the department within 10 days and they will issue a replacement card that will cost $25.
Medical Marijuana Patient Caregiver Criminal Background Check
In addition to all of the requirements listed on the application, a caregiver must also submit fingerprints for the purposes of obtaining a criminal history through the Pennsylvania State Police and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). If the caregiver applicant has a criminal history, the department will use it to determine the person’s character, fitness, and suitability to serve as a caregiver. The department will more than likely deny any applicant caregiver who has been convicted of a criminal offense that has occurred in the last 5 years relating to the sale of drugs, narcotics, or controlled substances. The department will also deny an application of a caregiver if the applicant has a history of drug abuse or illegal drugs.
If the patient applicant is under the age of 18 the following applies:
The patient shall have a caregiver
The caregiver must be one of the following: parent or legal guardian of the patient, or an individual designated by the parent or legal guardian
An appropriate individual approved by the department upon a sufficient showing that no parent or legal guardian is appropriate or available.
In most situations an individual under the age of 21 can't serve as a caregiver unless there is sufficient showing that the person should otherwise serve as caregiver.
For more information on medical marijuana, I encourage you to keep reading my blog and especially my previous articles on this controversial, yet important, topic.