How to Buy Medical Marijuana in Pennsylvania as a Caregiver

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Read time: 7:15 mins

If you’re a caregiver of a minor who has a qualifying medical condition and live in Pennsylvania, you may be eligible to buy medical marijuana for the minor you are caring for under the PA medical marijuana program.


Take a look below for answers to questions that can help you navigate how to buy medical marijuana in PA for your patient. And be sure to check Three Wells often for the latest Pennsylvania marijuana legalization news.

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.

What are the approved “serious medical conditions”?

A “serious medical condition” under Pennsylvania law is any one of the following:

  • Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis
  • Anxiety disorders
  • 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
  • Terminal illness
  • Tourette syndrome 

What is the definition of a caregiver?

A caregiver with the PA 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.

How do I sign up or register a minor in the PA medical marijuana 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’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 click the “Manage Caregivers” tab. 

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:

  • Minors;
  • Adult patients who are home-bound; or
  • 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 valid Pennsylvania driver’s license or PA state-issued ID card. If the patient is already registered, you will need the patient’s name, date of birth and patient ID number.

You can register as a caregiver with the Pennsylvania Department of Health.

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 address, phone number, and email address 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.

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 4-6 weeks after your fingerprint appointment to receive an answer regarding your caregiver application.

References

https://www.health.pa.gov/topics/programs/Medical%20Marijuana/Pages/Medical%20Marijuana.aspx