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Patients and Caregivers

Under the law, Pennsylvania residents who have a serious medical condition as certified by an approved physician are considered medical marijuana patients. Patients register for an ID card and use that card to obtain medical marijuana at Pennsylvania dispensaries. Caregivers also are Pennsylvania residents and are designated by patients  to deliver medical marijuana to them, obtained at a Pennsylvania dispensary. Caregivers register for an ID card and must complete a background check.  

Frequently Asked Questions

General FAQs

Who can participate in this program?

A person with an approved serious medical condition who is a Pennsylvania resident and is certified by a doctor participating in the program.

What are the approved "serious medical conditions"?

A "serious medical condition" under the law is any one of the following:

  • Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis;
  • Autism;
  • Cancer, including remission therapy;
  • Crohn's disease;
  • Damage to the nervous tissue of the central nervous system (brain-spinal cord) with objective neurological indication of intractable spasticity, and other associated neuropathies;
  • Dyskinetic and spastic movement disorders;
  • Epilepsy;
  • Glaucoma;
  • HIV / AIDS;
  • Huntington's disease;
  • Inflammatory bowel disease;
  • Intractable seizures;
  • Multiple sclerosis;
  • Neurodegenerative diseases;
  • Neuropathies;
  • Opioid use disorder for which conventional therapeutic interventions are contraindicated or ineffective, or for which adjunctive therapy is indicated in combination with primary therapeutic interventions;
  • Parkinson's disease;
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder;
  • Severe chronic or intractable pain of neuropathic origin or severe chronic or intractable pain;
  • Sickle cell anemia; and
  • Terminal illness.

How do I know if I am eligible for the program?

If you believe you have an approved serious medical condition, you will need to visit a doctor approved to participate in the program. The doctor will certify that you have an approved serious medical condition and are eligible for medical marijuana. It's important to know that this doctor's visit may not be covered by insurance and you would be responsible to pay out-of-pocket.

What steps do I need to take to participate in the program as a patient?

There are four-steps to participate in the program:

  1. Register on the website;
  2. See an approved practitioner to get certified;
  3. Pay for your medical marijuana ID card; and
  4. Visit a Pennsylvania dispensary with your medical marijuana ID card.

What information do I need to have available when I register?

All patients and caregivers must have proof of Pennsylvania residency in the form of a Pennsylvania driver's license or a Pennsylvania state issued ID card with their current address. Patients and caregivers also must have a working email address.

Do you have any tips for a successful registration?

Use a computer (not a mobile device) to register and access your account. Have your valid Pennsylvania driver's license or state-issued ID (or change of address card if applicable) in front of you while registering as you will need to match the information exactly as it appears on the ID. Make sure that the information you are entering matches with PennDOT records if you have updated your address. Enter only the digits where numbers are required (no spaces, hyphens, etc.).

How will I know if I registered successfully?

After your information is validated, you will be prompted to create a username and password. When you have created the username and password, you will see a screen that displays your account information including your Patient ID number. You are now registered in our program. You will receive an email confirming your successful registration and detailing your next step, which is to obtain a patient certification from an approved practitioner.

What is a patient certification?

A doctor approved by the Department of Health (department) can issue a patient certification. The certification confirms that you have one of the 21 serious medical conditions, and that medical marijuana may benefit you. You need this certification to get your medical marijuana ID card.

How do I get a patient certification?

An approved doctor can issue your patient certification. View a a list of approved doctors.

Can I register online before I see my doctor?

Yes, you should register and have your patient ID number prior to seeing an approved doctor.

What happens after I am certified by a doctor?

After the doctor certifies you in the system, you will receive an email confirmation with  your next steps on how to pay for your medical marijuana ID card.

How do I pay for my patient ID card?

Using a computer (not a mobile device), visit the login page and log in as a returning user with the username and password that you created when you registered. Usernames and passwords are case-sensitive. Click the 'Make Payment' tab and follow the prompts to enter payment information. A confirmation will appear when you have successfully paid for the medical marijuana ID card.

How much is the medical marijuana ID card?

The fee for the patient or caregiver medical marijuana ID card is $50. Individuals who participate in the following government programs may qualify for a discounted medical marijuana ID card: Medicaid, PACE/ PACENET, CHIP, SNAP and WIC.

When will I get my patient ID card?

You should receive your card approximately seven to 10 days after you order it online. The card will be mailed to the address in your Patient Profile.

I received my card. Where can I get medical marijuana?

Once you have received your medical marijuana ID card, you can purchase medical marijuana at any dispensary in Pennsylvania. Some dispensaries require an appointment for your first visit. View contact information and locations for all dispensaries

Patient FAQs

What is my patient profile?

Your patient profile contains all your relevant patient information. Each time you log onto the patient and caregiver registry, you will be able to access this information. Under 'profile settings' is where you will find your patient ID number, as well as all your personal information. Patients can update their information on this page and should make sure that all the information is current.

How do I get a patient certification?

An approved doctor can issue your patient certification. View a list of approved doctors.

How do I find a doctor who participates in the medical marijuana program?

View a a list of approved doctors.

Can you register as a patient for the program if you have a criminal record?

You are not required to complete a background check if you are registering as a patient. However, all caregivers must complete a background check, and any criminal record will be reviewed prior to their approval.

Can minors with serious medical conditions get medical marijuana?

Yes. Patients under the age of 18 with a serious medical condition may get medical marijuana through a caregiver. See CAREGIVER FAQs for more information.

I'm home-bound. Can I still register for the medical marijuana program?

If you are home-bound, you may either register yourself and designate up to two caregivers or you may have a caregiver apply on your behalf. Your caregiver, once approved, can pick up your medical marijuana at an approved dispensary.

Can a patient have more than one caregiver?

Yes, a patient can have up to two caregivers.

How do I link myself with a caregiver who wants to register?

Give the caregiver your name, date of birth and patient ID number. The caregiver can enter this information when they register for the program.

How do I associate myself with a caregiver already in the system?

Sign into your account and click the "Manage Caregivers" tab.

Caregiver FAQs

What is a caregiver?

A caregiver with the medical marijuana program is an individual who can pick up medical marijuana at a dispensary on behalf of their patient(s). Caregivers are not  the practitioner who certifies the patient.

Who can serve as a caregiver?

An individual 21 years of age or older, unless authorized by the department, can serve as a caregiver. Caregivers must register with the Department of Health and follow the instructions to complete a criminal history background check with the commonwealth's authorized vendor.

Who can have a caregiver?

Any patient may designate a caregiver if they so choose. All minors are required to have a caregiver. There are three categories of patients who do not get an ID card, and thus need not enter a dispensary. Instead, a caregiver registers on their behalf and visits the dispensary for them. These categories include:

  1. Minors;
  2. Adult patients who are home-bound; or
  3. Adult patients who benefit from assistance (i.e. nonverbal, do not make their own medical decisions, etc.).

Additionally, any adult patient who is registered and gets a medical marijuana ID card is also able to designate a caregiver by sharing their patient ID number with the caregiver before the caregiver registers.

What information do I need to become a patient's caregiver?

In order to register as a patient's caregiver, you must have a Pennsylvania driver's license, or a Pennsylvania state issued ID card with your current address. If the patient is already registered, you will need the patient's name, date of birth and patient ID number.

What is a caregiver profile?

Your caregiver profile contains all your relevant patient information. Each time you log onto the patient and caregiver registry, you will be able to access this information. This is where you will find your caregiver ID number, as well as all your personal information. Caregivers can update their information on this page and should make sure that all the information is current. By clicking the 'Manage Patients' tab, caregivers can view all the patients with whom they are associated.

Can I register as a caregiver for someone who is not a relative?

Adult patients can designate any individual as their caregiver. All caregivers must complete a background check. If you are a caregiver for a minor but not the patient's parent, legal guardian or spouse, you should be designated as a third-party caregiver by the patient or patient's legal guardian or spouse. It is recommended that you get an 'authorization to designate a third-party caregiver' form completed. A form can be downloaded from the caregiver's profile. Once completed, you can upload the form in your caregiver profile.

Can I be a caregiver if I have a criminal record?

All caregivers must complete a background check. Any criminal record will be reviewed prior to approval. You cannot be approved as a caregiver if you have been convicted of a criminal offense relating to the sale or possession of drugs, narcotics or controlled substances  within the last five years.

Can a caregiver have more than one patient?

Yes. Caregivers may provide care for up to five patients.

How do I sign up or register a minor in the program?

Minors under the age of 18 require a caregiver to register on their behalf. If you are the minor's parent, legal guardian or spouse, you can register as their caregiver by selecting the appropriate caregiver option on the registration site. If you are not the minor's parent, legal guardian or spouse, it is recommended that an 'authorization to designate a third-party caregiver' form be completed. This form can be downloaded from the caregiver's profile. Once completed, you can upload the form in your caregiver profile.

I care for a patient with a disability. How can I register them for the program?

If the patient is under the age of 18, they are required to have a caregiver apply on their behalf. If a patient is 18 years of age or older and able to register themselves, they may do so. If they cannot, a caregiver may register for them.

Who is considered a caregiver?

The law defines a "caregiver" as an individual 21 years of age or older, unless otherwise authorized by the department, who is:

  • Designated by a patient;
  • A parent, legal guardian or spouse of a patient that is under the age of 18; or
  • Designated to be a caregiver by a parent, legal guardian or spouse.

All caregivers must register with the department and then follow the instructions that are provided to complete a criminal history background check. Any criminal record will be reviewed prior to approval. You cannot be approved as a caregiver if you have been convicted of a criminal offense relating to the sale or possession of drugs, narcotics, or controlled substances within the last five years.

There are four caregiver options on the registration screen. How do I know which one to select?

  • Adult patient caregiver registration – you are registering for an adult patient who is already in the system. You will need to enter the patient's name, date of birth and patient ID number when registering.
  • Caregiver registering for an existing patient – you are registering for a patient who is already in the system but will not visit a dispensary. Patient will not register separately, nor will they receive an ID card in this instance. You will need to enter the patient's name, date of birth and patient ID number when registering.
  • Caregiver registering for a new patient – you are registering for a patient who is not yet in the system and will not visit a dispensary. Patient will not register separately, nor will they receive an ID card in this instance. You will need to enter the patient's name, date of birth, address and telephone number when registering.
  • DOH-approved caregiver registration – when you register under this category, you are agreeing to allow the Department of Health to share your contact information with patients in your area who need a caregiver. If this is not your intent, you should choose one of the three options above.

What steps do I need to take to participate in the program as a caregiver?

Register on our website, undergo a criminal background check, wait for an email with the outcome of your background check and finally pay for an ID card if approved to serve as a caregiver.

How do I associate myself with a patient in the system?

Before registering, get the patient's ID number and date of birth. Enter this information on the registration screen. If you have already registered and are not linked with the patient, the patient will need to sign into their account and click the "Manage Caregivers" tab to add you. If you are not associated with a patient who has an active certification, you will not be able to purchase medical marijuana on their behalf at a dispensary.

How long does the caregiver approval take?

It can take four-to-six weeks after your fingerprint appointment to receive an answer regarding your caregiver application.

Common Issues/Concerns FAQs

Where do I find my patient ID number?

Sign into your account. You will need to enter your username and password. Your patient ID number can be found in profile settings.

I forgot my username or password. What should I do?

Usernames and passwords are case-sensitive. There is a link on the registration page that allows you to request an email with your username or to request an email that allows you to reset your password. When you request a new password, you will receive an email that takes you to the page that allows you to enter a new password and re-enter it as confirmation. The link in this email will only work once and expires 24 hours after you request it. You will need to use a computer to reset your password.

My card never arrived. What do I do?

Most people receive their card within 10 days of paying for it, although it sometimes takes longer. If 18 days have passed since you have paid for the card, check your debit/credit card statement to make sure your payment was processed and contact us at RA-DHMedMarijuana@pa.gov to request a replacement card. Cards are mailed to the address in your patient/caregiver profile.

I lost my card. how do I request a replacement?

Replacement cards are $25 for a first replacement and $50 for each additional replacement. As soon as you request a replacement, your old card will be deactivated for security reasons and will no longer work even if you find it. To request a replacement card, email us at RA-DHMedMarijuana@pa.gov.

There are no dispensaries near me, what do I do?

The program is still growing and new dispensaries will be opening. View an interactive map of dispensary locations. You can zoom in to find a dispensary near you. When you click on a dispensary pin, their contact information will be displayed.

There are no approved practitioners near me. What do I do?

The program is still growing and new approved practitioners are added as they complete training and become approved by the Department of Health. View a a list of approved doctors.

My license has my full middle name, but your system won't let me enter it. What do I do?
Our system only takes your middle initial. Enter the initial only and continue your registration.

I'm entering the information on my driver's license, but it still won't validate. What can I do?

Solutions to common problems are listed below:

  • Enter your address EXACTLY as it appears on your driver's license. Abbreviations and spacing must match. For example, Street vs. ST, Avenue vs. AVE, Apartment vs. APT.
  • If your street address is on two lines on your license, enter it exactly the same on our website. The first line in address 1 and the second line in address 2.
  • If your city has a long name, check it carefully on your ID for abbreviations and spacing
  • For all fields that request numbers (Phone, DOB, License number) include only the digits (no spaces or punctuation).

I keep trying to register, but the system locks me out. What do I do?

To unlock the webpage, refresh/reload the page, or close out of the website and go back to it. Then, please read the FAQs and tips for successful registration on this page. If you are still unable to register, please contact us at RA-DHMedMarijuana@pa.gov and provide all of the information requested on the registration form.

I'm trying to pay for my medical marijuana ID card, but the system won't let me. What do I do?

You must have a certification from your doctor to pay for your card. After you are certified, you will receive an email stating you are able to pay. If you have not received this email, but believe that you should have, please contact your doctor's office. 

If you requested a fee reduction by selecting one of the eligible programs on the payment page, you will receive an email when that request has been processed (may take up to 10 days). Until that time your account will say "under review."  You will need to use a computer (not a mobile device) to pay for your medical marijuana ID card.

I don't have a computer. How can I participate in the program?

Currently, an email address and access to a computer are necessary for participation in the program. You can obtain an email address at no cost. A friend, family member, neighbor, local library or practitioner's office may be able to help you register online.

Who will assist the department in making changes to the medical marijuana program in Pennsylvania?

The Pennsylvania Medical Marijuana Act creates the Medical Marijuana Advisory Board within the Department of Health. Members include the Secretary of Health; the Physician General; State Police Commissioner; Chair of the State Board of Pharmacy; Commissioner of Professional and Occupational Affairs; President of the Pennsylvania Chiefs of Police Association; President of the Pennsylvania District Attorneys Association; members to be appointed by the Governor and six appointees from the legislative caucuses who are knowledgeable and experienced in issues relating to care and treatment of individuals with a serious medical condition, geriatric or pediatric or clinical research. One member appointed by the Governor shall be a patient, a family or household member of a patient or a patient advocate. The law states that the Pennsylvania's Medical Marijuana Advisory Board shall have the following duties:

  • To examine and analyze the statutory and regulatory law relating to medical marijuana in this commonwealth;
  • To examine and analyze the law and events in other states and the nation with respect to medical marijuana; and
  • To accept and review written comments from individuals and organizations about medical marijuana.

Resources for Patients and Caregivers

Overview of Medical Marijuana in Pennsylvania

Watch this overview of the Medical Marijuana Program, which was signed into law on April 17, 2016.