Although the medical marijuana certification process doesn’t take very long, many patients are still eager to get started on their treatment. For many, medical marijuana is part of their holistic wellness plan, and can provide relief that traditional Western medicine cannot. It’s understandable—when you’re suffering, the sooner you feel relief, the better.
Unfortunately, you won’t be able to visit a dispensary unless you have a state-issued medical marijuana card in your hands. Read on to learn about the dispensary laws, the process of getting a card and what to expect when you visit a dispensary.
Why you need a medical card to enter a dispensary
Governor Tom Wolfe signed SB3 into law in 2016. The state law allows “compassionate medical cannabis” to be sold under strictly regulated circumstances. This is not to be confused with states that allow both medical and recreational marijuana. In order to purchase medical marijuana, you need to suffer from one of the 23 state-approved medical conditions. (Some conditions have been added since the bill was initially passed, and it’s possible that more will be added in the future.)
Registering for a card helps the state keep track of how much marijuana is sold, and to whom. This ensures that dispensaries don’t run afoul of state regulations, and to prevent a patient from abusing the medical card privileges.
In addition to making patients register for a medical card, the state also tightly controls each step of the process.
- The certification process requires patients to visit only approved, licensed providers like Cannabis Care Consultants.
- Dispensaries must have a permit, and only 50 permits will be issued across the state. Each dispensary can have up to three locations, however.
- There are only certain kinds of cannabis products available—for example, dried flower is only sold for vaporization purposes, not to smoke.
- Growers are also required to have permits, and adhere to the state’s growing and production standards.
The Pennsylvania State Department of Health notes that these regulations are designed to ensure safe, clean access to medical marijuana, which is handled by trained professionals and doled out on an appropriate basis. Although it can be frustrating to have to wait for your card in the mail, the certification process usually doesn’t take very long.
Registering for a medical card is easy
Registering for your medical marijuana card is easy, especially when working with a physician group like Cannabis Care Consultants. Simply register online with the Pennsylvania Medical Marijuana Program and schedule your evaluation appointment with Cannabis Care Consultants, one of the state’s approved medical providers.
Our practice uses online scheduling and telehealth appointments to streamline the registration process. If you’re approved for medical marijuana, we’ll fill out your certification at the appointment, so as not to waste any time. Then, you’ll pay your state $50 medical card fee and wait for it to arrive in the mail.
What to know before your first dispensary visit
If you’ve never visited a dispensary in Pennsylvania before, it’s important to know what to expect. Unlike regular retail stores, dispensaries are highly regulated. Here’s what you need to know before you set out to get your first batch.
- Bring your medical card. As you now know, if you want to enter a dispensary, you’ll need a valid medical card or caregiver card. On your first visit, you’ll also need to have your Pennsylvania state-issued identification card or driver’s license. The only people who are allowed in a dispensary without a medical or caregiver card are children under the age of 18, if accompanied by an adult with a valid medical card. Please note that you need to have the original card: dispensaries cannot accept photocopies, screenshots or other replicas.
- Cash only. Who carries cash anymore? You’ll need to stop by the ATM before you go to a dispensary. Most dispensaries can only accept cash, although some do allow you to use a debit card with a small ATM fee. Be sure to call ahead to confirm, or else you’ll risk wasting a trip.
- One at a time. Some patients are surprised to learn that dispensaries can only serve one customer at a time, so you’ll need to wait your turn. Leave plenty of time between errands, in case the dispensary is busy that day.
- Get a medical consultation. Finally, we recommend getting a pharmacist consultation at the dispensary, especially if it’s your first time. Your pharmacist will be able to identify products that will help you achieve your medical goals, and educate you about how to use them.
Keeping these tips in mind will make your first dispensary visit a great one. If you’re looking for an approved telehealth medical marijuana provider, schedule an appointment with Cannabis Care Consultants today.
Tags: Can I Go to a Dispensary Before My Card Arrives, Cannabis Care Consultants, Card, Dispensary