Registry opens, moving Pennsylvania patients another step closer to relief
Last update: November 6, 2017
On Wednesday, November 1, the Pennsylvania Department of Health launched the patient registry for the state’s medical marijuana program. Patients and caregivers can now start the application process for receiving a medical marijuana card that will provide legal protections and allow them to access state-licensed dispensaries once they are open.
To date, the state has approved three cultivation/ processing facilities to begin planting the first crop of medical marijuana in the state. Other similar facilities have until January to become operational or risk losing their permits. Dispensary locations are expected to seek approval to start operating by the end of the year. Patients should be able to obtain medical cannabis from dispensaries by spring 2018.
Congratulations and thanks to the countless advocates and state employees who worked tirelessly to make this important day a reality.
Medical marijuana resources
MPP has developed a number of fact sheets for Pennsylvania patients, caregivers, doctors, and employers. Please print and share these materials with others, including your physician.
- Summary of Pennsylvania’s Medical Marijuana Act
- Visiting Patients and Medical Marijuana Laws
- Guide for Employers and Employees
- Guide for Doctors and Patients
- Research and Evidence on Qualifying Conditions
- How to Talk to Your Doctor About Medical Marijuana
You can also learn more on MPP’s medical marijuana page.
On May 17, 2016, Rep. Ed Gainey, one of the lead sponsors of medical marijuana legislation in Pennsylvania, introduced HB 2706, a bill that would decriminalize the possession of marijuana. Currently, an individual arrested for possession of up to an ounce of marijuana can still be sentenced to a maximum of 30 days in jail and fined up to $500. Rep. Gainey’s bill would reduce the penalty to a fine not to exceed $100.
This long-overdue change would dramatically reduce the number of Pennsylvanians who have their dreams derailed by a criminal record. A 2013 study by the American Civil Liberties Union found that although blacks and whites use marijuana at nearly identical rates, enforcement is far from equal: blacks in Pennsylvania are 5.2 times more likely than whites to be arrested for marijuana possession.
Localities in Pennsylvania are leading the charge for more sensible marijuana policies. Since October 2014, the local governments in Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Harrisburg, and the State College Borough have each approved measures to reduce the penalty for personal use possession of marijuana to a simple fine. Our friends at the Keystone Cannabis Coalition have played a leading role in these reforms.
To stay updated on the status of marijuana policy reform in Pennsylvania, be sure to subscribe to MPP’s free legislative alert service now.
If you are a medical professional or a patient who might benefit from medical marijuana, or if you know somebody who might benefit from medical marijuana and you want to get involved, contact us at [email protected]. Please include your zip code so we can determine who your lawmakers are.
Additionally, if you are a doctor, veteran, law enforcement official, a person who was arrested for marijuana possession, or an attorney, please email [email protected] to learn how you can be of special help.