Illinois Medical Marijuana Caregiver Information

What Is a Medical Marijuana Caregiver in Illinois?

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.

How to Become a Medical Marijuana Caregiver in Illinois

To be eligible as a medical marijuana caregiver in Illinois, you must:

  • Be aged 21 or older
  • Reside in the State of Illinois at the time of application and remain so during participation in the Illinois medical cannabis patient program
  • Not have been convicted of an "excluded offense." An excluded offense includes:
  • A violent crime under Section 3 of the Rights of Crime Victims and Witnesses Act or a substantially similar offense
  • A felony violation of Illinois or the United States Controlled Substances Act. An applicant may qualify to receive a waiver for this offense if such an individual can demonstrate that the conviction was related to the cultivation, possession, transfer, or delivery of a reasonable amount of medical marijuana use

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:

  • Log in or create an account on the ICTS
  • Select the "MCPP Patient Caregiver" tab
  • Select "+ New" to begin a caregiver application
  • Follow the subsequent prompts to upload the required documents to complete the application

You will be required to provide:

  • Proof of identity, such as an Illinois driver's license, state identification card, and passport. Depending on the document uploaded, you may be required to upload proof of residency
  • Caregiver attestation form
  • Payment for the caregiver card. The fee varies depending on the period for which the card will be valid. A one-year card costs $25 while a three-year card costs $75. The fee may be paid using a MasterCard or Visa credit or debit card. Terminal patients, who have been diagnosed with 6 or fewer months to live, may be able to designate a caregiver free of charge

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.medicalcannabis@illinois.gov.

How to Find a Medical Marijuana Caregiver in Illinois

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.

How Much Marijuana Can a Caregiver Have in Illinois?

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.

How Many Marijuana Plants Can a Caregiver Have in Illinois?

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.

Illinois Marijuana Caregiver Information
In this section: