Current Affairs

State to State Differences Regarding What a Med Card Provides, Part 3: IL, PA, OH

Asia Mayfield
Written by Asia Mayfield


The first medical dispensaries in the state opened their doors in 2015. In 2019, the state legislature legalized recreational cannabis use.


There are 41 conditions which qualify for the state medical program. These include:

  • Cancer
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Multiple sclerosis

Qualifying patients can apply online, submit their doctor’s recommendation, and print out a temporary form that they can immediately use at dispensaries. Patients need to select their preferred dispensary during the application process.


Medical cannabis patients can grow up to five plants at home, while recreational consumers must buy their cannabis at a dispensary. Breaking this rule can result in a fine of up to $200 for five plants.

Medical patients pay a one percent tax rate while recreational products are taxed at 25-35 percent. Patients can purchase 2.5-ounces every 14 days.

Out of State

Adults 21 and over will soon be able to legally purchase cannabis without a doctor’s recommendation. Patients under 21 will need to apply for a state medical card.


The Pennsylvania Medical Marijuana Program was enacted in 2016.


Patients need to be at least 18 years old to participate in the state’s medical cannabis program. Younger patients must have an approved caregiver who can register on their behalf. Both patients and caregivers need to be PA state residents.

Physicians can recommend cannabis if the patient is suffering from one of many conditions, including:

  • ALS
  • Autism
  • Cancer
  • Chron’s Disease
  • Intractable pain
  • Opioid addiction
  • Anxiety


As of April 2019, there are 475 doctors approved to recommend cannabis in the state. Legal dispensaries are allowed to sell:

  • Cannabis pills
  • Infused oils and topicals
  • Tinctures
  • Cannabis concentrates
  • Flower, but you’re not allowed to smoke it (vaping only)

Patients can purchase up to a 30-day supply at once. However, regulators have not defined what this means.

Out of State

There was a temporary loophole in place that allows licensed caregivers to purchase medical cannabis for their underage patients no matter what state their medical card was issued in. However, the loophole closed in 2018.

Every patient now needs a valid PA medical card.


Medical cannabis sales began on January 2019. By March, there were 450 doctors qualified to give recommendations.


There are 21 qualifying conditions for a state medical card. These include:

  • HIV/Aids
  • Cancer
  • PTSD
  • Fibromyalgia


Patients can possess a 90-day supply . However, patients who buy a 30-day supply on their first  dispensary trip are limited by law to no more than a 60-day supply until 90 days after their original purchase.

Growing cannabis at home is prohibited.

Cannabis can be sold in all forms but it’s illegal to smoke it: flower must be vaporized.

Out of State

Out of state medical cards are not honored.

Image source: The Cannabist

About the author

Asia Mayfield

Asia Mayfield

Asia Mayfield is a freelance writer who focuses on the cannabis industry. She can be reached at

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