Legislation History

The Pennsylvania General Assembly passed the Medical Marijuana Act (Act 16) on April 17, 2016, legalizing the possession, sale, and consumption of medical cannabis. Only patients and caregivers who are Pennsylvania residents will be able to obtain medical cannabis from dispensaries in the state.


Pennsylvania’s Department of Health (PDH) has developed rules and regulations to establish, implement, and administer the statewide Medical Marijuana Program.


Each patient must have his or her medical condition verified by a PDH-approved physician in order to acquire a written certification for medical cannabis. A list of all the PDH-approved physicians in the state is available online. To find a local physician, please visit our map.

Where is it Safe to Purchase?

Patients and caregivers must be added to the state’s registry and obtain a medical cannabis ID card in order to purchase medical marijuana from PDH-licensed dispensaries.


If patients are unable to make purchases themselves, they may designate a caregiver to purchase and deliver the medical cannabis on their behalf. There are currently no delivery services available to patients other than through a designated caregiver.


Cannabis flower, or any product designed to be smoked, is not allowed to be sold,  purchased, or consumed.


Consumers are not subject to any excise tax on medical cannabis purchases.

Where is it Safe to Consume?

Act 16 does not stipulate where cannabis consumption is allowed; however, cannabis consumption should take place in a private space.


Pennsylvania has stipulated legal forms of cannabis consumption:

  • Pill
  • Oil
  • Topical forms (i.e. gel, cream, ointment, etc.)
  • Tincture
  • Liquid
  • A form medically appropriate for administration by vaporization or nebulization, including dry leaf or plant form

Twenty eight authorized dispensaries will begin selling cannabis in its dry leaf form in phases between Aug. 1 and Aug. 8, 2018. Dry leaf cannabis may only be legally consumed by vaporization. Smoking cannabis remains illegal.


Lawful possession of medical marijuana limits patients to a 30-day supply.


Cultivating marijuana is illegal and a felony unless given explicit authorization through the PDH.


How Old Do I Need
to Be to Consume?
Possession Limit
for Flower
Possession Limit
for Concentrates
30-day supply

Medical Marijuana Registry

Pennsylvania has set up a Patient and Caregivers’ Registry. Patients or caregivers must register for the MMP through the registry before seeking a physician’s certification, which confirms patient has at least one of the required qualifying conditions to obtain cannabis.

Qualifying Conditions:

  • Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), or Lou Gehrig’s disease
  • Autism
  • Cancer
  • Crohn’s disease
  • Damage to the nervous tissue of the spinal cord with objective neurological indication of intractable spasticity
  • Epilepsy
  • Glaucoma
  • Huntington’s disease
  • Inflammatory bowel disease
  • Intractable seizures
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Neuropathy
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder
  • Severe, chronic, or intractable pain
  • Sickle cell anemia

Application Process:

  1. Register for the Medical Marijuana Program through the Patient and Caregivers Registry.
  2. Obtain a physician’s certification that confirms the patient suffers from at least one of 17 serious medical conditions recognized for cannabis eligibility.
  3. Complete registration for a $50 medical cannabis identification card.
  4. Visit a dispensary to obtain medical cannabis.


Patients in the registry who require assistance obtaining or using medical cannabis may designate up to two (2) caregivers. Caregivers must be at least 21 years old and may only provide care for up to five (5) patients.


PDH-approved caregivers can purchase medical cannabis at an approved dispensary, as well as possess, transport, and administer patients’ medical marijuana after purchase.

Application Process

  1. Register for the program through the Patient and Caregivers Registry.
  2. Provide a Pennsylvania driver’s license or a Pennsylvania-issued identification card with current address to show proof of Pennsylvania residency.
  3. Complete a criminal history background check.
  4. Complete registration by paying $50 for a medical marijuana identification card.

Safe Harbor

The Pennsylvania Safe Harbor Letter is available to parents, legal guardians, caregivers and spouses of a minor younger than 18 who suffers from one of the 17 serious medical conditions defined in the Medical Marijuana Act.

Application Process

  1. A completed electronic copy of the Safe Harbor Physician Form.
  2. A completed electronic copy of a Pennsylvania background check. Any criminal record will be reviewed by the PDH prior to approval. Caregivers cannot have a drug-related conviction that occurred within the last five (5) years. (instructions)
  3. Electronic copies of the required documents:
    • Legal guardians will need an electronic copy of their guardianship papers.
    • Caregivers will need an electronic copy of their caregiver status.
    • Spouses will need an electronic copy of their marriage certificate.


Pennsylvania does not offer reciprocating recognition of other states’ medical marijuana programs. The medical marijuana program is only open to Pennsylvania residents.

Lab Testing

All growers and processors are required to contract with a PDH-approved laboratory to test medical cannabis they produce. The tests are taken first from harvested cannabis and then again after processing, but before the product has been sold.

Marijuana is tested for the following:

  • Cannabinoid concentration (THC & CBD)
  • Microbiological contaminants
  • Pesticides
  • Solvents
  • Water activity and moisture content

This page was last updated on August 1, 2018.