Get a Medical Marijuana Card in Illinois: Easy 5-Step Guide
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A Step-by-Step Guide to Joining the Illinois Medical Marijuana Program
Are you interested in obtaining a medical marijuana card in Illinois? If so, you’re in the right place! In this ultimate guide, we’ll walk you through everything you need to know about navigating the medical marijuana program in the Land of Lincoln.
From understanding the program to qualifying for a card and completing the application process, we’ve got you covered. So, let’s get started!
Illinois Medical Marijuana Qualifying Conditions
When it comes to understanding the medical marijuana program in Illinois, there are a few key aspects to consider. Firstly, patients must have a qualifying medical condition to be eligible for the program. These conditions include but are not limited to:
- A method used in the extraction of kief and hash, where cann... of Alzheimer’s disease
- Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS)
- Anorexia nervosa
- Arnold-Chiari malformation
- Cachexia/wasting syndrome
- Chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyneuropathy
- Chronic pain
- Crohn’s disease
- CRPS (complex regional pain syndrome Type II)
- Ehlers-Danlos syndrome
- Fibrous Dysplasia
- Hepatitis C
- Interstitial cystitis
- Irritable bowel syndrome
- Multiple Sclerosis
- Muscular Dystrophy
- Myasthenia Gravis
- Nail-patella syndrome
- Neuro-Bechet’s autoimmune disease
- Parkinson’s disease
- Polycystic kidney disease (PKD)
- Post-Concussion Syndrome
- Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
- Reflex sympathetic dystrophy
- Residual limb pain
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Seizures (including those characteristic of Epilepsy)
- Severe fibromyalgia
- Sjogren’s syndrome
- Spinal cord disease
- Spinal cord injury is damage to the nervous tissue of the spinal cord with objective neurological indication of intractable spasticity
- Spinocerebellar ataxia
- Superior canal dehiscence syndrome
- Tarlov cysts
- Tourette syndrome
- Traumatic brain injury
- Ulcerative colitis
Medical and Recreational Cannabis Laws in Illinois Today
In Illinois, medical marijuana has been legal since 2013, when the Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Pilot Program Act was signed into law.
The program allows qualified patients to obtain a medical marijuana card, which grants them access to state-licensed dispensaries and legal protection for the possession and use of cannabis for medical purposes.
Although Illinois legalized cannabis in 2020 for adults 21+, there are significant advantages to becoming a medical patient. Today, the State of Illinois offers several different types of applications, including:
- Patient Application With a Caregiver
- Patient Application Without a Caregiver
- Terminal Patient Application
- Minor Application Instructions
- Terminal Minor Application Instructions
- Caregiver Application Instructions
- VA Medical Health Record Instructions
Illinois Marijuana Card Fees and Discounts
Here is a breakdown of all the fees you will incur obtaining your cannabis card.
|APPLICATION TYPE||1YR TERM||2YR TERM||3YR TERM|
|Regular Patient Application Fee||$50.00||$100.00||$125.00|
|Reduced Fee Patient Application||$25.00||$50.00||$75.00|
|Minor Patient Application Fee||$50.00||$100.00||$125.00|
|Life-long Renewal Patient Application Fee||N/A||N/A||$50.00|
|Designated Caregiver Fee||$25.00||$50.00||$75.00|
|Regular Patient Application Fee with One CG||$75.00||$150.00||$200.00|
|Regular Patient Application Fee with Two CG’s||$100.00||$200.00||$275.00|
|Regular Patient Application Fee with Three CG’s||$125.00||$250.00||$350.00|
|Regular Patient Reduced Fee Application with One CG||$50.00||$100.00||$150.00|
|Regular Patient Reduced Fee Application with Two CG’s||$75.00||$150.00||$225.00|
|Regular Patient Reduced Fee Application with Three CG’s||$100.00||$200.00||$300.00|
In Illinois, physician fees for a cannabis certification vary between $75 to $125.
If you need a caregiver, you must apply for a caregiver application. Patients may have up to three (3) caregivers. Generally, minors and terminal patients will require a caregiver. It costs $25/year per caregiver.
The fee is reduced to $50 for veterans and those enrolled in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).
SSI / SSDI Fees
People on Social Security or Disability qualify for the reduced application fees!
Illinois-residing veterans who receive health services from Veteran’s Administration (VA) Facilities are not required to obtain a written certification from a physician. Instead, they can submit 12 months of VA records with their application. To get started:
Follow the instructions on the online application and submit all required information and documents. Remember to double-check everything before submitting to avoid delays or rejections due to incomplete or inaccurate data.
Fees for Minors
Minors under 18 require a physician’s certification of a qualifying condition to apply for an Illinois medical marijuana card. A second physician must review and confirm the diagnosis. Both certifications, along with a designated caregiver, must be submitted.
The first caregiver’s application is free, while adding a second or third caregiver costs $75 each. Minors are restricted to cannabis-infused products and cannot use smokable ones.
To get started, parents or guardians can begin the Minor Qualifying Patient Application here. Remember if you do not have two physicians – ours can help.
Terminal patients do not have to pay any fees to the state to obtain a medical cannabis card in Illinois.
Steps to Getting Your Medical Marijuana Card in Illinois
Step 1 – Discuss Cannabis With Your Provider Or Use One of Ours
Once you have determined that you have a qualifying condition, you’ll need to find a healthcare provider registered with the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) to certify your eligibility for the program.
The certification process involves an examination of your medical records and a discussion with your healthcare provider about the potential benefits and risks of medical marijuana treatment.
If your primary care physician is willing to certify you, fantastic! They will fill out this form. However, if you do not feel you can discuss cannabis with your existing doctor for any reason whatsoever, you can instead get certified for your medical cannabis card through our network of physicians and cannabis providers!
Step 2 – Register Through The Illinois State Online System
Once your certification is complete, you can apply for your medical marijuana card through the IDPH’s online application system. The application requires personal information, a passport-style photo, and a nonrefundable fee.
On the application, you will select whether you are getting a card for yourself or someone else. Note that you will be asked whether you are terminal, a vet, receiving disability income or whether you need a caregiver. When creating your account, save your login and password somewhere safe!
It’s important to note that the application process may take several minutes, so it’s best to apply once you have all the necessary documentation.
Step 3 – Receiving Your Illinois Medical Marijuana Card
Once your application has been processed and approved, you will receive your Illinois medical marijuana card. This card is your official proof of enrollment in the program and allows you to purchase medical marijuana from state-licensed dispensaries.
Keep your medical marijuana card in a safe place and remember to bring it with you whenever you visit a dispensary. Dispensaries are required to verify your patient status before allowing you to make a purchase.
Step 4 – Printing Your Provisional Letter in Illinois
After submitting your application, you will receive a provisional letter via email. This letter serves as temporary proof of your patient status while you wait for your medical marijuana card to arrive. It’s crucial to keep a copy of this letter with you at all times when you have medical marijuana. Print your provisional letter to get access immediately.
Step 5 – Explore Cannabis Dispensaries Near You
After receiving your medical marijuana card, you will have access to a variety of state-licensed dispensaries where you can purchase medical cannabis products. The state regulates these dispensaries to ensure the quality and safety of their products.
While waiting for your medical marijuana card, you can start preparing for your first visit to a dispensary.
Documents and Requirements For Your Illinois Application
Ensure that you have all the necessary information and documents ready before beginning the application process. The program has a straightforward process, but patients must provide:
- Proof of residency in Illinois (bank statement / utility bill / etc.)
- A valid Government Issues ID (State ID or Driver’s License)
- A 2″x2″ passport-sized photo.
- Social Security Benefit Verification Statement (for reduced fees)
- DD-214 Form for Veterans
How Long Does it Take to Get Your Illinois Med Card
After meeting the requirements and applying online for Illinois medical cannabis, you’ll get a temporary card for dispensary use within 24 hours. The permanent card arrives in about 4-6 weeks. Mailed paper applications take longer to process.
Renewing Your Illinois Medical Cannabis Card
Medical marijuana cards in Illinois are valid for either one or three years, depending on the duration selected during the application process.
To renew your card, you will need to follow a similar process as the initial application, including obtaining a new medical marijuana patient certificate and submitting a renewal application with the required documents and fees. Use the qualifying patient renewal instructions from the State, or go through us, and we’ll handle everything for you.
Now that you have a comprehensive understanding of the process, congratulations on taking the first step toward obtaining your medical marijuana card in Illinois!
Advantages of Having Your Illinois Medical Marijuana Card
Obtaining an Illinois Medical Marijuana Card offers several distinct advantages for patients:
- Economic Savings: Cardholders frequently benefit from reduced prices and significant tax deductions on their purchases of up to 40%. That’s 40% less on taxes, meaning you can buy up to 40% more product!
- Cultivation Rights: One of the unique privileges of the card is the authorization to cultivate up to 5 plants for a personal quantity of medical cannabis, ensuring quality and preference control.
- Efficient Service: Experience expedited service at dispensaries, minimizing wait times and enhancing the purchasing process. Medical patients have their own line.
- Exclusive Product Access: The card grants access to a range of medical-grade cannabis products specifically formulated for therapeutic purposes, which aren’t available to the general public on the adult use side.
- Enhanced Legal Safeguards: Holding a card provides an additional layer of legal protection, ensuring patients’ rights are always upheld. Could be helpful in many legal situations, although job protections are not one of them.
- Increased Purchase Limits: Cardholders enjoy the advantage of being allowed to purchase medical cannabis in quantities that exceed the usual limits for recreational users. Medical patients can purchase 2.5 ounces every two weeks and increase their access for up to 3 ounces.
Knowledge is empowerment, and understanding these benefits can lead to a more informed and optimized medical cannabis experience in Illinois.
Your First Visit to an Illinois Dispensary: What to Expect
Now that you have your medical marijuana card, it’s time for your first visit to an Illinois dispensary. When planning your visit, it’s a good idea to research different dispensaries in your area and find one that meets your preferences and needs.
When you arrive at the dispensary, you must present your medical marijuana card and a valid photo ID. The staff will guide you through the process and help you select the appropriate products based on your medical condition and preferences.
Don’t hesitate to ask questions and seek their expertise—dispensary staff are there to assist you in making informed decisions about your medical marijuana treatment.
Illinois Medical Cannabis Reciprocity Laws
You’re probably wondering: Can I use my out-of-state medical marijuana card in Illinois? While Illinois does not currently accept out-of-state medical marijuana cards, they do offer reciprocity for registered patients from certain states.
- Arkansas: Visitors need a medical cannabis visitor card, valid for 90 days.
- Georgia: Visitors with a valid card can possess up to 20 ounces of low-THC oil. No purchases are allowed.
- Hawaii: Visitors need a medical cannabis visitor card, valid for 21 days, with a limit of two cards/year, only for specific conditions.
- Iowa: Visitors with a valid card can possess up to 4.5 grams of THC. No purchases are allowed.
- Maine: Full dispensary access with a valid card.
- Michigan: Full dispensary access with a valid card.
- Missouri: Visitors with a valid card can possess cannabis.
- Nevada: Full dispensary access with a valid card.
- New Hampshire: Visitors with a valid card can possess up to 2 grams for specific conditions. No purchases are allowed.
- New Mexico: Full dispensary access with a valid card.
- Oklahoma: Visitors need a card from the Oklahoma Medical Marijuana Authority.
- Puerto Rico: Full dispensary access with a valid card.
- Utah: Visitors need a medical cannabis visitor card, valid for 21 days, with a limit of two cards/year. Only for specific conditions.
- D.C.: Full dispensary access with a valid card.
It’s important to check the Illinois Department of Public Health‘s website for the most up-to-date information on reciprocity.
Benefits of Getting Your Card via The Cannabis Community
At The Cannabis Community, we understand the importance of medical cannabis in many of our readers’ lives. We’re committed to simplifying the process for you:
- Online Convenience: Secure your medical cannabis card from the comfort of your home. Our streamlined online process ensures you don’t have to set foot outside.
- Value for Group Members: Joining us means more than just community; it’s also about value. Group members continually benefit from exclusive discounts, ensuring you never pay the standard price.
- Commitment to Satisfaction: We stand firmly behind our services with a 100% money-back guarantee. If, for any reason, you don’t qualify, rest assured you won’t be charged.
- Round-the-Clock Support: Our dedicated customer service team is available 24/7, ready to assist with any inquiries or concerns.
- Personalized Coaching: For those seeking a more profound understanding or tailored guidance, we offer 1:1 coaching sessions with our experts.
- Engage and Learn: Be part of our thriving community forum, a space to connect, share, and grow with fellow cannabis enthusiasts.
Join us today and experience the difference of The Cannabis Community.
Frequently Asked Questions about Illinois Cannabis
By now, you should have a solid understanding of how to navigate the medical marijuana program in Illinois. However, it’s normal to have additional questions or concerns. In this section, we’ll address some frequently asked questions to ensure you have all the information you need.
Where Can I find a Dispensary near me?
In Illinois, you can purchase medical cannabis at one of over 40 licensed dispensaries. The Department of Public Health lists each dispensary’s license, location, and contact info. Additionally, you can view our directory listings to find dispensaries near you!
Where can I consume cannabis?
You are able to consume cannabis within the privacy of your own home! In addition, the state of Illinois is starting to allow consumption lounges to open up. These are places where you can go, hang out, socialize, and enjoy cannabis products on-site.
Smoking in public places is prohibited and could result in penalties and fines. Additionally, you are not able to consume cannabis products on private property, government property, or places where you don’t have a reasonable expectation of privacy.
How Much Cannabis Can I Buy?
Medical patients can buy 2.5 ounces of cannabis every two weeks and save up to 40% on taxes. Most in Illinois qualify for a card, typically received within a day of applying. To get a 5-ounce allowance, a healthcare professional must recommend an increase online. You’ll be notified by email once approved.
It’s important to note that possession limits may vary for different forms of medical marijuana, such as concentrates or edibles.
How much cannabis can I possess in Illinois?
Individuals residing in Illinois who are 21 years of age or older are permitted to possess: up to 30 grams of cannabis flower, which is approximately equivalent to an ounce; 5 grams of cannabis concentrates, encompassing products like oils, dabs, or kief; and cannabis-infused items that contain a total of 500 milligrams of THC, which includes a variety of products such as edibles and tinctures.
How can I get my card for free or reduced?
If your primary care physician is willing to certify you, that will save you on some costs. In addition, if you’re a veteran or on SSI/SSDI, you may qualify for eligible discounts.
How private is my information when I get my medical card?
As a medical patient, your information is registered with the state. If you’re curious about who can see that you have a medical cannabis card, check out our detailed article here.
Does Insurance Cover Medical Cannabis?
Due to the federal laws around cannabis, insurance companies are not able to cover medical cannabis products today.
Does my medical cannabis card affect my gun rights?
The short answer is it depends. Having a medical card will not result in you losing your firearms, but it may make purchasing new guns more difficult. To learn more, check out our detailed analysis here.
Can I grow my own medical marijuana plants in Illinois?
Under the Illinois Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Pilot Program Act, registered patients are allowed to grow their own medical marijuana plants. Patients may grow up to 5 plants at a time. All other medical marijuana products must be obtained from state-licensed dispensaries.
Can I drive under the influence of medical marijuana?
No, it is illegal to drive under the influence of medical marijuana in Illinois. Just like alcohol, operating a vehicle while impaired by medical marijuana can result in serious legal consequences. It’s important always to use medical marijuana responsibly and avoid driving if you are impaired.
Can I go to a dispensary without a medical card in Illinois?
To visit any of the 60 medical dispensaries in Illinois as a medical marijuana patient, you must have your medical marijuana card or ID. However, adults over 21 can buy cannabis at a dispensary within state guidelines at any dispensary.
Can I travel with my cannabis?
It depends on where and how you are trying to travel. To learn more, read our guide on traveling with medical marijuana.
Can I share my medical marijuana with others?
You are able to do what you wish in the confine of your own home and there are no explicit rules around sharing cannabis products with other patients and consumers over the age of 21.
Can I lose my job for using medical marijuana in Illinois?
Can I get a cannabis card while on parole?
This will likely depend on your parole officer; however, due to the existing stigma and risk, we recommend consulting with an attorney or directly with your parole officer. Be sure to explain why you are eligible for the program and do your best to comply with any terms assigned to you.
Can my Child with a medical cannabis card consume cannabis at school?
Thanks to Ashley’s Law – the state of Illinois ensures access to medical cannabis under the age of 18. For more information about Ashley’s Law, please refer to the Illinois State Board of Education website
Can my cannabis card application be disqualified?
Technically, yes. If you do not have an eligible condition, or the information you submitted is incomplete, your application for an Illinois medical cannabis card may be disqualified and rejected. Double and triple-check any information you submit on your application to ensure a seamless process.
What products should I buy?
The products you buy depend on the desired effects you are looking for, symptoms you are looking to manage, personal preference, pricing, promotions, and many other variables. We recommend you check out our guide on how to choose the best medical cannabis strain for your condition or particular preference.
What if I have more questions I have about cannabis?
If you have more questions, we encourage you to join our Illinois community, where 18,000 members talk with each other daily, answer questions, and support one another in a helpful and thriving community. Best of all, it’s free to join!
Where Can I Find More Answers to Questions About the Illinois Application Process?
The State website lists the most common issues and questions about getting your Illinois medical cannabis card. If you are having any problems with getting your card, check out the State’s FAQ page to see if it answers the problems you are experiencing.