Illinois Medical Marijuana

  1. Illinois Cannabis
  2. Illinois Medical Marijuana

Related Pages:
Illinois Medical Marijuana Card >
Illinois Medical Marijuana Patient Information >
Illinois Medical Marijuana Caregiver Information >

What is Medical Marijuana in Illinois?

In Illinois, marijuana is medicinal if a person consumes it to treat a mental or physical health challenge. More than 100 different chemicals - called cannabinoids - are in the marijuana plant, and each affects the human body differently. However, delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD) are the main components of medicinal use.

Experts claim that cannabis helps decrease chronic pain, nausea, vomiting, depression, muscle spasms, multiple sclerosis, sleep problems, autism, and other health problems. In Illinois, individuals can obtain medical marijuana by applying to join the state's Medical Cannabis Pilot Program.

Is Medical Marijuana Legal in Illinois?

Yes. In August 2013, Governor Pat Quinn signed the Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Pilot Program Act into law, legalizing medical cannabis in Illinois. The bill permitted the cultivation and use of medical marijuana in the state and established a medical marijuana program now called the Illinois Medical Cannabis Patient-Registry Program (MCPP). Under the state's medical marijuana program, qualified patients may use medical marijuana to treat specific medical conditions.

Who Can Get Medical Marijuana in Illinois?

Medical marijuana in Illinois is available to residents who have obtained medical marijuana cards and have been certified as suffering from a qualifying debilitating medical condition. Persons suffering from the following approved conditions are eligible to receive medical cannabis recommendations for medical marijuana use:

  • Post-concussion syndrome
  • Dystonia
  • Interstitial cystitis
  • Hydrocephalus
  • Severe fibromyalgia
  • AIDS
  • HIV
  • Hepatitis C
  • Fibrous dysplasia
  • Arnold-Chiari Malformation and Syringomyelia
  • Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS)
  • Agitation of Alzheimer's disease
  • Causalgia
  • Crohn's disease
  • Chronic Inflammatory Demyelinating Polyneuropathy
  • Cancer
  • Complex Regional Pain Syndrome Type II
  • Cachexia
  • Multiple Sclerosis
  • Lupus
  • Myoclonus
  • Neurofibromatosis
  • Nail-patella syndrome
  • Muscular dystrophy
  • Complex Regional Pain Syndromes Type I
  • Parkinson's disease
  • Myasthenia Gravis
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Sjogren's syndrome
  • Tourette's syndrome
  • Seizures, including those characteristic of epilepsy
  • Spinal cord injury
  • Traumatic brain injury
  • Spinocerebellar Ataxia
  • Spinal cord disease, including those characteristic of Tarlov cysts, hydromyelia, arachnoiditis, syringomyelia
  • Residual limb pain

Can You Grow Medical Marijuana in Illinois?

Registered medical marijuana patients and caregivers in Illinois can cultivate up to five marijuana plants at home. However, each cultivated plant must be no more than 5 inches tall. The space used for growing medical marijuana must be locked, enclosed, and hidden from the public. Marijuana growing by registered patients or caregivers must occur only on residential properties owned by the cultivators or on properties for which the owners' consent have been obtained.

Do You Need to See a Doctor to Get Medical Marijuana in Illinois?

To get medical marijuana in Illinois, you must first see a physician to obtain a medical cannabis certification. The physician must be a doctor of osteopathy or medicine, Physician Assistant (PA), Advanced Practice Registered Nurse-Full Practice Authority (APRN-FPA), or an Advanced Practice Nurse (APN) who:

  • Is licensed under the Medical Practice Act of 1987; and
  • Has a controlled substance license under Article III of the Illinois Controlled Substance Act; and
  • Is in good standing with the State of Illinois; and
  • Has a bona fide healthcare practitioner-patient relationship with the individual to be certified

You do not have to pay the physician to obtain the written medical cannabis certification. However, the physician may charge a consultation fee for a physical examination to verify that you suffer from one of the debilitating conditions approved for medical marijuana in Illinois. The Illinois Department of Health does not publish or maintain a list of health care practitioners who issue medical cannabis certifications.

Note that veterans receiving health care at Veterans Affairs (VA) establishments and who wish to get medical marijuana do not need to provide written physician recommendations for medical marijuana. However, they must provide their medical records from the attending VA establishments for the past 12 months when applying for medical marijuana cards under the Illinois MCPP.

Can a Minor Get a Medical Marijuana Card in Illinois?

Yes. Patients under the age of 18 can legally obtain and use medical marijuana if they have been diagnosed and certified as suffering from any debilitating medical condition approved for medical marijuana. Public Act 98-0775 became effective on January 1, 2015, and permits qualifying minor patients suffering from seizures to obtain medical marijuana cards.

Unlike adult patients, minors are required to obtain two physician certifications. The first certification attests that a minor is suffering from one of the qualifying conditions following an in-person visit, while the second certification must be issued by a reviewing physician who reviews the minor's medical records for correctness of the first diagnosis. The reviewing physician is not required to conduct an in-person assessment of the patient. Minor patients suffering from terminal illnesses are exempt from obtaining the second medical cannabis certification.

Also, a minor seeking to use medical marijuana must designate a caregiver who is required to be the patient's custodial parent or legal guardian.

How to Apply for a Medical Marijuana Card in Illinois

To obtain a regular medical marijuana card in Illinois, you must be aged 18 or older and not:

  • Hold a school bus driver permit or commercial driver's license
  • Be an active-duty law enforcement officer, probation officer, correction officer, or firefighter

Before starting the application process, it is important that you have the following ready:

  • A written certification from a doctor confirming the diagnosis of a qualifying condition
  • A passport-size photo taken on a plain white background and in jpeg format
  • Proof of Illinois residency with two separate documents, such as a utility bill, State of Illinois-issued identification card or driver's license, bank statements, and voter ID card
  • Proof of identity
  • Medical records from a Veterans Affairs facility, if applicable

To apply for an Illinois medical marijuana card, follow these steps:

  • Register or create an account on the Illinois Cannabis Tracking System (ICTS) and select "MCPP patient registration"
  • Check your email for a notification from the ICTS containing your temporary password, and then change your password on the ICTS
  • Select "New MCPP Patient Registration" to begin a new registration
  • Select the application type and choose "I am applying for myself"

From here, follow the prompts to complete the registration and pay for the medical marijuana card. If you are applying on behalf of a patient under the age of 18, refer to the Minor Patient Application Instructions or the Terminal Minor Patient Application Instructions. If you require medical marijuana to treat a terminal illness, refer to the Patient Terminal Application Instructions. If you intend to include a caregiver in your application, refer to the Patient Application with the Caregiver Instructions.

For more information on medical marijuana card applications in Illinois, visit the medical cannabis page on the IDPH website or call an Illinois Medical Cannabis Program representative at (855) 636-3688. You may also email the Illinois medical cannabis patient program at DPH.medicalcannabis@illinois.gov.

Does Illinois Allow Medical Marijuana Patients to Designate Caregivers?

Yes. Adults who are incapable of taking care of themselves and residents under the age of 18 may designate caregivers to assist them with accessing medical marijuana. An Illinois medical marijuana caregiver is an individual selected by a qualifying patient as the person authorized, on the patient's behalf, to possess, obtain from a certified medical cannabis dispensary, dispense, and assist in the administration of medical marijuana. Caregivers are required to enroll in the Illinois medical marijuana program.

To be eligible to be a caregiver in Illinois, an individual must:

  • Be aged 21 or older
  • Reside in Illinois
  • Have agreed to assist with a patient's medical cannabis use
  • Not be convicted of a disqualifying offense
  • Assist no more than one qualifying patient

Pursuant to Section 57 of the Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Program Act, a qualifying patient under the age of 18 may be able to designate up to three caregivers, provided at least one of the designated caregivers is a biological parent or legal guardian. According to Section 57, patients over the age of 18 can also assign a maximum of three primary caregivers.

What Is the Cost of an Illinois Medical Marijuana Card?

The cost of a medical marijuana card in Illinois ranges between $25 and $300 depending on the card's term length and the number of registered caregivers. The fee is $50 for a one-year term card, $100 for a two-year term card, and $125 for a three-year term card for adult and minor patient applications with no designated caregivers. The renewal fee for an Illinois medical marijuana card depends on the type of registration completed during the initial application. Hence, renewal fees are typically the same as the initial registration fees.

For qualifying patients who are veterans or enrolled in the federal Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Social Security Disability Income (SSDI) disability programs, medical marijuana card fees are discounted. Upon presenting proof of indigent or veteran status and approval, the fees for one-year, two-year, and three-year term cards become $25, $50, and $75, respectively.

What Do You Need When Visiting a Medical Marijuana Dispensary in Illinois?

When visiting approved cannabis dispensaries in Illinois, you must present your DPH-issued medical cannabis registry identification card (medical marijuana card) and a State of Illinois-issued identification card. Commonly accepted government-issued ID cards include the Illinois temporary visitor driver's license, Illinois driver's license, or an Illinois identification card issued by the Illinois Secretary of State.

How to Renew Your Illinois Medical Marijuana Card

Renewing a medical marijuana card in Illinois follows similar steps to the application process when you initially applied. To initiate a renewal application, submit an extension on Illinois Cannabis Tracking System (ICTS) before the card's expiration date. You will be notified by email once it is time to renew your card. The mail will contain a link to direct you to your account on the ICTS. Follow the prompts to complete your application and make the applicable renewal fee payment.

Is it Possible to Overdose on Cannabis in Illinois?

Yes, it is possible for one to overdose on cannabis. Although, unlike other drugs, a marijuana overdose is unlikely to end in a fatality. Most of the symptoms individuals experience when consuming excessive amounts of cannabis are extreme variants of cannabis' typical effects. They include, but are not limited to:

  • Anxiety, paranoia, or panic attacks: People that overdose on marijuana often deal with overwhelming feelings of impending doom.
  • Rapid heart rate: Feelings of fear generally cause a rapid heart rate and vice versa.
  • Difficulty conversing: Individuals that consume cannabis may find holding a conversation taxing. However, a person that overdoses on cannabis may be unable to string even the most basic sentences.
  • Poor coordination: This is the ability to move the body to solve problems.
  • Nausea and vomiting: Large doses of marijuana overstimulate the digestive system, causing vomiting and nausea.
  • High or low blood pressure: Blood pressure has a significant impact on an individual's wellbeing. When marijuana overdose occurs, the patient might develop symptoms of high or low pressure.
  • Extreme confusion and memory problems: Marijuana overdoses may leave patients highly confused and unable to remember the past in any timeframe.
  • Hallucinations: If a person overdoses on marijuana, they may experience severe hallucinations and lose the ability to distinguish between real or otherwise.

If I am Pregnant, Can I Use Cannabis to Relieve Nausea in Illinois?

While Illinois allows anybody to purchase and consume marijuana, it discourages pregnant women and young mothers from using marijuana. While some studies have shown that women who consumed cannabis gained significant relief from Hyperemesis Gravidarum (extreme nausea during pregnancy), other studies claim the dangers of THC on a fetus are numerous, including:

  • Prenatal brain development disruption;
  • Smaller size at birth
  • Higher chances of stillbirth
  • Higher chance of premature birth;
  • Secondhand marijuana smoke dangers;
  • Attention deficit disorder and behavioral problems in childhood.

Even considering the benefit of improved nausea symptoms, Illinois still discourages pregnant women from consuming marijuana as it also carries the following risks for them:

  • Dizziness and the risk of falling;
  • Impaired judgment and the risk of injury;
  • Lower levels of oxygen in the body - causing breathing problems;
  • Lung damage (if the patient is smoking).
Illinois Medical Marijuana
In this section: