Is Weed Legal in Pennsylvania?
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 can obtain medical cannabis from dispensaries in the state under Pennsylvania marijuana laws.
Is Weed Decriminalized in Pennsylvania?
Weed is decriminalized in certain cities in Pennsylvania, including Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Harrisburg, York, State College, Erie, Lancaster, Bethlehem, and Steelton. The Philadelphia marijuana laws passed in 2014 made the city the largest at the time to decriminalize possession of cannabis. Pennsylvania marijuana decriminalization is not, however, statewide yet. Possession of marijuana in Pennsylvania carries a maximum penalty of 30 days in jail and a $500 fine if the amount possessed is less than 30 grams.
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 medical cannabis on their behalf and deliver it to them. 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 these legal forms of cannabis consumption:
- Topicalss (i.e. gel, cream, ointment, etc.)
- A form medically appropriate for administration by vaporization or nebulization, including dry leaf or plant
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.
Medical Marijuana Registry
Pennsylvania has set up a patient and caregivers’ registry. Patients or caregivers must register for the Medical Marijuana Program through the registry before seeking a physician’s certification, which confirms the patient has at least one of the required qualifying conditions to obtain cannabis.
- Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), or Lou Gehrig’s disease
- Crohn’s disease
- Damage to the nervous tissue of the spinal cord with objective neurological indication of intractable spasticity
- Huntington’s disease
- Inflammatory bowel disease
- Intractable seizures
- Multiple sclerosis
- Parkinson’s disease
- Post-traumatic stress disorder
- Severe, chronic, or intractable pain
- Sickle cell anemia
- Register for the Medical Marijuana Program.
- Obtain a physician’s certification that confirms the patient suffers from at least one of 17 serious medical conditions recognized for cannabis eligibility.
- Complete the registration for a $50 medical cannabis identification card.
- Visit a dispensary to obtain medical cannabis.
Patients in the registry who require assistance obtaining or using medical cannabis may designate up to two caregivers. Caregivers must be at least 21 years old and may only provide care for up to five patients.
PDH-approved caregivers can purchase medical cannabis at an approved dispensary, as well as possess, transport, and administer patients’ medical marijuana after purchase.
- Register for the program.
- Provide a Pennsylvania driver’s license or a Pennsylvania-issued identification card with current address to show proof of Pennsylvania residency.
- Complete a criminal history background check.
- Complete registration by paying $50 for a medical marijuana identification card.
The Pennsylvania Safe Harbor Letter conveys the state’s approval for caregivers to possess and administer medical marijuana. It 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.
Applicants must provide electronic copies of the following:
- A completed Safe Harbor Physician Form.
- A completed 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 years. (instructions)
- One of these required documents:
- Legal guardians will need a copy of their guardianship papers.
- Caregivers will need a copy of their caregiver status.
- Spouses will need a 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.
All growers and processors are required to contract with a PDH-approved laboratory to test medical cannabis they produce. The tests are taken from harvested cannabis and then again after processing, but before the product has been sold.
Marijuana is tested for the following:
- Cannabinoid concentration (THC and CBD)
- Microbiological contaminants
- Water activity and moisture content