Illinois Medical Marijuana Card

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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. Under the state's medical marijuana program, qualifying patients may use medical marijuana to treat specific qualifying medical conditions.

How to Get a Medical Marijuana Card in Illinois

  • Obtain a Medical Cannabis Certification: Consult a licensed physician authorized to recommend medical marijuana in Illinois. Telemedicine appointments are allowed for obtaining medical marijuana certifications
  • Gather Application Supporting Documents: Prepare required items such as a passport-style photo, proof of Illinois residency, and a government-issued ID
  • Create an Account on the Illinois CTS: Visit the Illinois Cannabis Tracking System (CTS) and choose "MCPP Patient Registration,” and complete an application
  • Wait for Approval: After submitting your application, await approval from the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH). Once approved, you will receive your Illinois medical cannabis card

Qualifying Conditions for Medical Card 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 I Apply For A Medical Marijuana Card In Illinois Online?

Yes, the Illinois medical cannabis program accepts applications for medical cannabis cards online. However, certifications for medical marijuana issued by physicians are not permitted to be obtained online. Patients must meet physically with their physicians for evaluation to obtain medical marijuana recommendations.

How Do I Register With the Illinois Medical Cannabis Program?

You can register with the Illinois medical cannabis program via the Cannabis Tracking System (CTS). Prior to your application, you must get a medical cannabis certification from an approved Illinois physician. This certification and other supporting documents must be uploaded online on the CTS during your application. You will also need to pay an application fee for your card to be issued. Note that only patients with qualifying conditions are allowed to register with the program.

Do I Need To Be An Illinois Resident To Get A Medical Marijuana Card?

Only Illinois residents can obtain medical marijuana cards under the state's medical cannabis program.

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.

Who Can Prescribe 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 healthcare 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.

Can You Get A Medical Marijuana Card At 18 In Illinois?

Yes. Illinois recognizes 18-year olds as adults in its medical marijuana program. When a minor participating in the state’s medical marijuana program turns 18, they can either cancel their current minor card and request a new card as an adult or they can allow the current card to expire and re-apply during the renewal process as an adult.

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.

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 is required to be no more than five inches tall. The space used for growing medical marijuana must be locked, enclosed, and invisible to the public. Marijuana growing by registered patients or caregivers must occur only on residential property owned by the cultivator or with the consent of the owner.

Illinois: Benefits Of Having A Medical Marijuana Card In A Recreational Marijuana-Legal State

Illinois patients with active state-issued medical cannabis cards pay significantly less for marijuana products than recreational buyers who are taxed heavily (up to 30%). Also, medical cannabis card holders typically have priority access to cannabis dispensaries. If you have an Illinois medical cannabis card, you can skip the dispensary and grow cannabis at home. Recreational marijuana patients are prohibited from growing cannabis at home in Illinois. In addition, possessing an Illinois medical cannabis card allows you to possess up to 71 grams of cannabis every 14 days, compared to recreational marijuana users who are capped at 30 grams.

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.

Illinois Medical Marijuana Reciprocity

There are no medical marijuana reciprocity rules under the Illinois medical cannabis program. Hence, only Illinois residents are allowed to get a medical marijuana card in the state.

Are My Medical Marijuana Records Private?

Medical marijuana records are private under the federal HIPAA of 1996 and 410 ILCS 130/145. Information received and records kept by the IDPH, IDFPR, IDA, or the Illinois State Police to administer this state's medical marijuana laws are subject to all applicable federal privacy laws.

These records are confidential and exempt from the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) and not subject to disclosure to any individual or entity, except as necessary for authorized employees of authorized agencies to perform official duties.

So, while employers do not have access to medical marijuana records, law enforcement agencies may access them if you are being investigated for a marijuana-related crime.

Does Insurance Cover Medical Marijuana In Illinois?

No, insurance does not cover medical marijuana costs in Illinois. All expenses related to medical marijuana must be paid out of pocket.

What Is The Medical Card Limit In Illinois?

Patients with Illinois medical marijuana cards can purchase up to 71 grams or 2.5 ounces of cannabis in any 14-day period. State law also allows patients with active registrations to possess more marijuana if needed, pursuant to valid recommendations issued by their certifying physicians.

Can You Go To A Dispensary Without A Medical Card In Illinois?

Yes, you can purchase cannabis from Illinois marijuana dispensaries without a medical marijuana card. With adult-use marijuana legal in the state, persons aged 21 or older (residents or visitors) can purchase cannabis at licensed recreational dispensaries with valid government-issued IDs. Note that out-of-state visitors can only buy half of the purchase limit allotted to in-state adult weed buyers.

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