The state of Illinois legalized medical marijuana in 1996 with the Compassionate Use Medical Cannabis Pilot Program Act. This established the Medical Cannabis Patient Program (MCPP) in the state which allows all patients with a debilitating medical condition approved by the state and a valid Medical Marijuana Card to legally buy and use cannabis in Illinois.
If you think medical cannabis can be your health solution, here’s a detailed guide on how to get a medical marijuana card in the state and the important state laws that all patients must be familiar with.
You can get a medical marijuana card in Illinois by following these steps:
Here’s a walk-through of the steps in detail.
In the state of Illinois, a medical marijuana card is only issued to patients who meet all the requirements of the state. The MCPP of Illinois approves a list of qualifying conditions (discussed later) that every patient must fulfill in order to qualify for a medical marijuana card. A doctor with a license to practice medicine in Illinois is authorized to assess a patient as per the requirements of the state and write a recommendation accordingly.
To get a medical marijuana card in Illinois, you must get yourself evaluated by a physician in person and receive a written recommendation. A consultation is necessary for the doctor to assess you and for a patient to ask questions and clear all lingering doubts. A certified physician must:
After a complete in-person assessment, the licensed doctor will fill a Health Care Professional (HCP) Certification form which can then be used to complete the next step.
After receiving the written recommendation from your physician, you need to register with the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH). A physician’s written certification is valid for a period of 90 days only. You must register with the department within the 90 day period.
The physician can submit the form with the department on your behalf or you can visit the website and fill in the application form yourself. The process is simple:
All online applications are approved within 1-2 business days. The applicant will receive the temporary registry card for use until the permanent card arrives. It can take up to 90 days for a mailed application to be approved.
Did You Know?
There are an estimated 154,965 registered medical cannabis patients in Illinois.
You must submit a PDF or JPEG file of the following documents when registering for a medical marijuana card in Illinois:
Yes, minors can apply for a medical marijuana card in Illinois as long as they are 18 years or older, qualified for a medical card, and have an adult caregiver. Minors must also have a certification as well as a reviewing certification from a healthcare professional.
The adult caregiver can apply on behalf of the minor on the IDPH website. There is a separate application form for minors. After filling in the form and attaching the necessary details, the application can be submitted online or by mail to the IDPH office. The patient can apply for a one-year, two-year, or three-year medical cannabis registry card in Illinois.
You must also fill in the MCPP patient-caregiver form and specify that the patient is a minor and whether you are a legal guardian or not. Minors can apply for one caregiver without any charge.
The validity of an Illinois Medical Marijuana Card depends on whether you picked the 1 year, 2 years, or 3 years card. The expiration date of the card will be calculated starting from the date of issuance.
You must get a renewal after the expiration to continue using medical cannabis in the state and enjoy the exclusive advantages that follow.
|Duration||1 Year||2 Year||3 Year|
|Reduced Cost for Patients only*||$25||$50||$75|
The application fee is non-refundable.
*Patients enrolled under the Federal Social Security Disability Income (SSDI), Supplemental Security Income (SSI), disability programs, and Veterans are eligible to get a medical marijuana card in Illinois at a reduced cost.
Application fees for patients and caregivers must be submitted separately.
The price of a medical marijuana recommendation will depend on the health care provider who evaluated you.
A patient qualifies for an Illinois medical marijuana card if they fulfill the following requirements of the state:
The Illinois Department of Public Health has an exhaustive list of medical conditions approved for a medical marijuana card. The list is as follows:
The following list of requirements apply to caregivers registering with the Illinois Department of Health:
|Access to Quality Products||State restrictions do not allow access to all cannabis products.||Have access to all high-quality and tested products.|
|Money Savings||Have to pay taxes based on the level of THC i.e. 6.25% State Retailers’ Occupation Tax.||Money savings. Pay 1% State Retailers’ Occupation Tax only.|
|Grow Cannabis||Cannot grow their own cannabis.||Can grow up to 5 cannabis plants up to 5 inches tall at home.|
|High Possession Limit||1 ounce of cannabis; 5 grams of concentrate; 500mg of THC in edibles.||2.5 ounces of cannabis per 14 days or as mentioned in a written statement of the doctor.|
|Priority||Recreational consumers are not the top priority of the dispensaries.||Patients with a medical marijuana card are prioritized in a line or in case of short supply.|
Apart from understanding the basic terms of medical cannabis, all registered medical marijuana patients must buy, use and grow cannabis in the state as per the medical marijuana laws. Here’s an overview of some of the important cannabis laws in Illinois that you must know.
You can possess 2.5 ounces of medical cannabis and 5 grams of concentrates in Illinois. It’s necessary for all patients to apply for a waiver to be able to possess more than the legal limit.
The purchase limit is set to a period of 14 days. Medical patients can buy 2.5 ounces of cannabis after every 14 days only.
Yes, you can grow cannabis in Illinois with a medical marijuana card. You must have a valid medical marijuana card in order to grow a maximum of 5 plants that are 5 inches tall at a time.
Growing cannabis at home in the state of Illinois must be done keeping the following points in mind:
The state of Illinois does not have a dedicated medical marijuana reciprocity program. However, visiting patients can buy and possess 15 g of cannabis flower, 250mg of edibles, and 2.5 g of concentrates at Illinois dispensaries using their out-of-state medical cards.
Registered MMJ patients of the state of Illinois can also use their cards in other states that follow medical marijuana reciprocity. However, the restrictions will be as per the laws of the state the patient is visiting. Make sure to familiarize yourself with the MMJ laws of different US states to avoid legal issues.
You can buy medical marijuana in Illinois at any state registered dispensary. You can use your phone to find a dispensary near you before leaving your home.
Use your medical marijuana card at the dispensary to purchase the product you need at a lower price than recreational consumers.