An Illinois medical marijuana caregiver is an individual assigned by a qualifying medical marijuana patient and authorized to possess, obtain from approved medical marijuana dispensaries, dispense, and assist in administering cannabis or cannabis-infused products to the patient. Caregivers under the Illinois Medical Cannabis Patient Program (MCPP) are issued registry identification cards authorizing them to provide caregiver services to patients. Caregivers are usually assigned by patients who are not able to take care of themselves and qualifying patients under the age of 18.
Designated caregivers under the Illinois MCPP may help with medical cannabis preparation tasks, such as breaking up cannabis flower for vaporization, that may be impossible for patients with rheumatoid arthritis or multiple sclerosis. A designated caregiver can also transport medical cannabis within the state (apart from within federal properties) for qualified patients. When transported, medical cannabis must be locked in containers placed in the trunks of vehicles.
Although most patients under the MCPP designate only one caregiver, Section 57 of the Illinois Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Program Act permits a patient under the age of 18 to designate up to three caregivers, as long as one of the caregivers is a biological parent or legal guardian of the patient. Section 57 also permits patients over the age of 18 to assign a maximum of three primary caregivers. A caregiver may not serve more than one registered patient per time.
To be eligible as a medical marijuana caregiver in Illinois, you must:
Patients typically add caregivers during their registration on the Illinois Cannabis Tracking System (ICTS). However, caregivers may initiate the application process if the patient is a minor or an incapacitated adult. To apply for caregiver registration:
You will be required to provide:
For more information on obtaining caregiver cards in Illinois, visit the medical cannabis page on the Illinois Department of Public Health website or call an Illinois MCPP representative at (855) 636-3688. You may also email the Illinois MCPP at DPH.firstname.lastname@example.org.
It is a patient's responsibility to designate an individual as a caregiver and not the state's. The State of Illinois does not have a registry for patients to identify or find eligible medical marijuana caregivers. Most patients designate family members or trusted persons who are familiar with their ailments and can reliably care for them.
Caregivers are permitted to purchase and possess up to 2.5 ounces or 71 grams of usable medical cannabis every 14 days on behalf of their patients. Under special circumstances, a patient may ask the certifying physician for a recommendation to possess more medical marijuana than the maximum allowed. If a patient has been granted such concession, the caregiver may obtain the recommended amounts by presenting the medical cannabis certification at an approved dispensary. Note that both caregiver and patient cannot collectively purchase more than 2.5 ounces of medical marijuana over any two-week period.
Caregivers are allowed to grow up to five marijuana plants on behalf of the patients associated with them. Marijuana grow areas must be in enclosed, locked spaces such as rooms, closets, greenhouses, and any other areas equipped with locks or other security devices that permit access only to authorized persons under the Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Program Act. Marijuana grow areas must be away from public areas and be situated only on residential properties owned by the cultivators or with the property owners' consent.