How to get a medical marijuana card in Illinois

What is an MMJ Card in Illinois?

Medical marijuana cards are government-issued ID cards that allow individuals with doctor's recommendations to acquire, store, or grow cannabis for therapeutic purposes. Per Illinois' Cannabis Regulation and Tax Act (HB1438-SFA2), anyone that wants to use marijuana may do so, as long as they are older than 21 years old. Therefore, many people have to decide whether getting a medical marijuana card is worth the trouble. However, having an MMJ card allows you to access more cannabis than the average user and gives you access to a broader range of stock. An MMJ card also provides you with guaranteed supply at a dispensary, which can come in handy when your favorite strain is in short supply. As of July 2020, according to independent studies, 113,458 Illinois residents had gotten medical marijuana cards. Most agents charge a fee to obtain medical marijuana cards and issue cards valid for a limited time.

Who Can Apply for an MMJ Card in Illinois?

Only a limited number of persons can obtain Illinois medical marijuana cards. The state will not issue MMJ cards to you if:

  • You are not an Illinois State resident at the time of application;
  • You do not have a qualifying medical condition;
  • You do not have a physician's signed certification to get medical marijuana;
  • You are not above 18 years of age;
  • You hold a Commercial Driver's License or school bus permit;
  • You are a law enforcement officer, correctional officer, or firefighter on active duty.

If you want to obtain an MMJ card in Illinois, you must ensure that your physician signs a notice allowing you to get one.

Can a Minor Obtain a Medical Marijuana Card in Illinois?

Per Ashley's Law, the state of Illinois allows parents or primary caregivers to obtain medical marijuana cards for minors. Designated caregivers must have a health care professional certification. Parents, however, must apply for MMIC cards as caregivers and may only purchase THC-infused products for their children.

What Conditions Qualify for Medical Marijuana Cards in Illinois?

Illinois issues medical marijuana cards to individuals that need marijuana for life-altering health conditions. The list of conditions that qualify for medical marijuana treatment include:

  • Agitation of Alzheimer's disease

  • ALS

  • Anorexia Nervosa

  • Autism

  • Arnold-Chiari Malformation

  • Cachexia/Wasting Syndrome

  • Cancer

  • Causalgia

  • Chronic Inflammatory Demyelinating Polyneuropathy

  • Chronic pain

  • Crohn's Disease

  • CRPS (complex regional pain syndrome Type II)

  • Dystonia

  • Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome

  • Fibrous Dysplasia

  • Glaucoma

  • Hepatitis C

  • HIV/AIDS

  • Hydrocephalus

  • Hydromyelia

  • Interstitial Cystitis

  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome

  • Lupus

  • Migraines

  • Multiple Sclerosis

  • Muscular Dystrophy

  • Myasthenia Gravis

  • Myoclonus

  • Nail-patella Syndrome

  • Neuro-Behcet's Autoimmune Disease

  • Neurofibromatosis

  • Neuropathy

  • Osteoarthritis

  • Parkinson's Disease

  • Polycystic Kidney Disease

  • Post-Concussion Syndrome

  • Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

  • Reflex sympathetic dystrophy

  • Residual limb pain

  • Rheumatoid Arthritis

  • Seizures (including those characteristics of epilepsy)

  • Severe Fibromyalgia

  • Sjogren's Syndrome

  • Spinal cord disease (including but not limited to Arachnoiditis)

  • Spinal cord injury (damage to the nervous tissue of the spinal cord with an objective neurological indication of intractable spasticity)

  • Spinocerebellar Ataxia

  • Superior Canal Dehiscence Syndrome.

  • Syringomyelia

  • Ulcerative Colitis

  • Tarlov Cysts

  • Tourette Syndrome

  • Traumatic brain injury

How Do I Apply for an MMJ Card in Illinois?

If you need to apply for a medical marijuana card in Illinois, there are two ways to do this: online or by mail.

However, before deciding how to apply for a medical marijuana card, you must meet with a licensed doctor - to determine if you are qualified to consume medical marijuana. If the doctor is willing to prescribe medical marijuana, you can fill out an IL Health Care Professional Written Certification Form and give it to the doctor to sign.

Parents or caregivers applying on behalf of minors must get a doctor to sign the above certification form and a Reviewing Health Care Professional Written Certification Form for Qualifying Patients Under 18 Years of Age.

Once you have the doctor's certification form, you can apply to be a medical marijuana patient. If you are an adult, you may fill out an online medical cannabis patient form - Illinois no longer accepts mail-in requests for adult medical marijuana cards. Parents or caregivers applying for minors must complete an IL Designated Caregiver Registry Identification Card Form and mail it to:

Illinois Department of Public Health

Division of Medical Cannabis

535 West Jefferson Street

Springfield, IL 62761-0001

Applicants must provide a 2×2 inch passport photo of themselves. All photographs must have a solid colored background with nobody else in the image but the applicant. You must also provide a replica of your state-issued ID that shows you are above 18 years old and a utility bill or bank statement with your name on it. Illinois medical marijuana cards cost $100, $200, or $250 if valid for one, two, or three years.

How does a Primary Caregiver get an Illinois MMIC?

MMIC's (or "medical marijuana identification cards") are official identification cards that allow the bearers to purchase medical marijuana in Illinois. Medical marijuana dispensaries in the state are bound to sell cannabis only to people with medical marijuana identification cards. These cards are available to patients and official primary caregivers. Adult patients may obtain their MMIC using the above-listed steps. However, primary caregivers must follow a different process as they do not request cannabis for themselves but for persons that require assistance.

Before applying for an Illinois MMIC, a caregiver must:

  • Be above 21 years of age;
  • Be an Illinois state resident when they apply;
  • Complete a fingerprint-based background check with no excluded offense convictions or an approved waiver for the excluded offense;
  • Serve only one qualifying patient.

If you qualify and wish to apply for an Illinois MMIC as a primary caregiver, you must complete an Application for a Designated Caregiver Registry Identification Card, including the following:

  • Qualifying patient information
  • Proof of residency
  • Proof of identity
  • Proof of age
  • Photograph
  • Copy of the fingerprint consent form and a receipt from a livescan fingerprint vendor with the Transaction Control Number (TCN);
  • An excluded offense waiver, if applicable.
  • Application fee of $25 for a one-year card, $50 for a two-year card, and $75 for a three-year card.

Mail-in applicants may send their applications to the address below:

Illinois Department of Public Health

Division of Medical Cannabis

535 West Jefferson Street

Springfield, Illinois 62761-0001

How Long Does it Take to Get an Illinois MMIC?

The Illinois Department of Public Health typically takes up to thirty days from the initial receipt date to review complete applications. If the Department approves an MMIC, it must issue it within fifteen days after approval. If the Department rejects an application, it must let the applicant know why within the same time frame. The Department will immediately reject any incomplete applications.

Getting an Illinois Medical Marijuana Card Online

Beginning 12/01/2020, the Illinois Department of Public Health stopped receiving paper applications for medical marijuana cards and transitioned to a completely online system. Eligible individuals can get Illinois medical marijuana cards online via the state's Medical Cannabis Patients page. If you wish to apply for your medical marijuana card online, you must create a new account with the following information:

  • First Name
  • Last Name
  • Last 4 Digits of SSN
  • Date of Birth

If you are eligible and submit your online application before 6:00 p.m. CST, you will receive a printable provisional (temporary) registration card the following day, after 8:30 p.m.

How much does a Medical Marijuana Card cost in Illinois?

The Illinois Department of Health issues one-, two-, or three-year registry identification cards for eligible patients and caregivers. The Department also discounts the application fee for veterans or individuals receiving Social Security Disability Income (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI).

The application fees are below:

Application Fee Discounted Application Fee
$100 - One-Year Registry Card $50 - One-Year Registry Card
$200 - Two-Year Registry Card $100 - Two-Year Registry Card
$250 - Three-Year Registry Card $125 - Three-Year Registry Card

Primary caregivers must also have medical marijuana cards to buy medical cannabis or help eligible patients use it. The fee schedule for caregivers' MMIC is below:

  • $25 - One-Year Registry Card;
  • $50 - Two-Year Registry Card;
  • $75 - Three-Year Registry Card;
  • $75 - Caregiver applying separately for an already-registered patient;

How Do I Renew My Medical Marijuana Card in Illinois?

Currently, there are two types of renewals for medical marijuana cards:

  • Extension Renewals apply to patients that did not initially buy three-year cards and wish to continue using medical marijuana through the three years. If you require this type of extension, you do not need to obtain another Physician's Written Certification.
  • Complete Renewals apply to patients who have had cards for three years or past their expiration date. Individuals applying for complete renewal must see their certifying health care professional for a new certification.

If you have a medical marijuana card, the IDPH will send you a courtesy letter regarding your extension renewal about 45 days before it expires. If your card requires complete renewal, you will get a courtesy letter up to five months before it expires and a Physician Written Certification.

If your Illinois MMIC is up for extension or renewal soon, you must wait to receive the IDPH's letter before attempting to renew. Once you receive the letter, go to the Medical Cannabis Patients page to continue your card.

As every medical marijuana card is valid for up to three years, cardholders may extend their cards with additional one-year cards. However, individuals that wish to renew their cards must submit a new application with a physician certification, an updated photo, and other documentation.

Extension Fee Discounted Extension Fee
$100 - One-Year Registry Card $50 - One-Year Registry Card

Renewal fees are the same as initial application fees:

Renewal Fees Discounted Fee Applications(For Veterans or persons with DD214 or SSI Letters)
$100 - One-Year Registry Card $50 - One-Year Registry Card
$200 - Two-Year Registry Card $100 - Two-Year Registry Card
$250 - Three-Year Registry Card $125 - Three-Year Registry Card

What Documents Do I Need to Apply for a Medical Cannabis Card in Illinois?

The Illinois Department of Health requires eligible applicants to provide the following documents when applying for medical cannabis cards:

  • A physician certification form
  • A signed application form
  • A copy of a valid government-issued photo ID
  • Two items showing proof of residency
  • Designated caregiver information and caregiver card fee (if applicable)

The Department accepts the following items as proof of residency:

  • Residential lease/property deed.
  • Utility bill.
  • Letter from the government/court (marriage license, divorce, government aid)
  • Bank statement.
  • Driver's license/learner's permit.
  • Car registration.
  • Notarized affidavit of residency.

Are My Details Kept Confidential When I Apply for a Medical Marijuana Card in Illinois?

Yes, according to Illinois' medical records law, medical records are confidential documents. Therefore, only you and your nurses, doctors, or other health care administrators can access any details you give when you apply for a medical marijuana card. Further, the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) mandates health companies and workers to keep patients' information private, making it illegal for anyone to share their confidential details.

What Information appears on an Illinois Medical Marijuana Card?

Every Illinois Medical Marijuana card contains the following information:

  • Patient/Caregiver name;
  • Patient/Caregiver ID;
  • Address;
  • Date of birth;
  • Issuing Date;
  • Expiry Date;
Illinois Marijuana MMJ Card
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