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How to get a medical card in Illinois

Interested in obtaining an Illinois medical cannabis card? You’ve come to the right place! Read on for info on the state’s medical marijuana laws, step-by-step instructions for receiving a card and qualifying medical conditions. 

Illinois is one of the states where marijuana is legal. Before July 2021, if you had a medical marijuana card in Illinois you needed to select a single dispensary location and stick with it. Now registered Illinois medical cannabis patients can visit any medical marijuana dispensary. [Source] 

Illinois medical marijuana laws & regulations 

Marijuana is legal in Illinois for both recreational and medical use since the 1st of January 2020. [Source] 

You are eligible for an Illinois medical marijuana card and can apply to get a medical marijuana card in your state if you are: 

  •  At least 18 years old 
  • An Illinois resident 
  • Have a qualifying medical condition 

With an Illinois medical cannabis card, you can legally buy medical marijuana at any licensed dispensary. 

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How to get a medical marijuana card in IL 

To get a medical marijuana card in Illinois, you should be 18 years or older. If you are under age 18, you need an adult caregiver and certification from two different physicians. You need to be an Illinois resident and have proof of your residency. Additionally, a physician needs to certify you as a medical marijuana patient. 

How to apply for a medical marijuana card in Illinois 

To apply for an Illinois medical cannabis card, you need to talk with a licensed physician who is authorized to recommend patients for the medical marijuana program in Illinois, and who is familiar with your health and needs. The physician can be a qualified medical doctor (MD) or doctor of osteopathy (OD).  

Once you have received your certification for the medical marijuana program, you need to gather your required documents and prepare to apply for a medical marijuana card in Illinois and receive the card. Unless you are terminally ill, the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) will ask you to pay a fee to receive your Illinois medical cannabis card. Reduced fees are available for qualified Illinois residents who meet Illinois medical marijuana requirements. 

To register with the Illinois Medical Cannabis Patient Registry Program, visit the Illinois Cannabis Tracking System[Source] 

  • Create an account: 
  • Select the MCPP Patient Registration Button 
  • Fill in the user information and click the “Register” button 
  • You will receive an email with a temporary password You will need to change the password with the first log-in 
  • MCPP application: 
  • Select the “+New MCPP Patient Registration” button Select the “I am applying for myself” option 
  • You will be asked if your qualifying condition is terminal 
  • Select a 1yr, 2yr or 3yr Term card  
  • Note that there are different fees for each term  
  • You will be asked if you need a Caregiver. 
  • If you select “Yes” to the Caregiver question, you will complete the Caregiver portion of the application once you complete the patient application. 
  • Next, you will need to fill the “Patient Information Section”. You will need to fill all the fields marked by an asterisk. 
  • You will need to either upload a 2×2 inch photo or a “Photo Affidavit” if you choose to waive the photo. 
  • Fill all the required fields marked by an asterisk in the “Patient Proof of Identity Section.” 
  • In the Fees Section, you’ll need to answer if you’re a veteran or receiving a disability income. If you answer to either question is yes, you will need to upload the respective documents. 
  • Electronically sign the application and select the “Save” button. 

Time periods and medical cannabis recertification 

Once you apply for a medical card in Illinois, you can choose to be part of the medical marijuana registry and have a medical cannabis card for a period of one, two, or three years. After you have been approved, you can renew it for a one-year period without re-visiting a healthcare professional to certify your application. After three years, you need to have a full recertification renewal. This means you need to visit a certifying physician and have a new and updated certification to apply for a medical card Illinois residents can use to visit a licensed dispensary. 

What documents are required? 

To apply for a medical card, Illinois residents need to gather documents for identification purposes. Medical marijuana patients over age 18 need to have the following documents to apply for the Illinois Medical Cannabis Registry Program: 

  • Government-issued ID (Current Illinois driver’s license or state ID) 
  • A 2″x2″ color photo like a passport photo 

In addition to the government-issued ID, you may be asked to submit bank statements or utility bills, or a voter ID card.  

If you are eligible for a reduced fee or have a caregiver who will be helping you, other documents include: 

  • Patients with caregivers need their identification. 
  • Reduced fee applicants need Social Security Benefit Verification statements or a copy of Form DD-214 (for veterans). 

 The Illinois Department of Public Health has online instructions that walk you through gow to provide your documents to complete the Illinois medical marijuana card application. You can also visit county health departments for free help to complete your application for a medical marijuana card that Illinois residents are qualified to receive. 

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How long does it take to get an Illinois medical marijuana card? 

If you have met the requirements and submitted your online application for Illinois medical cannabis, you can receive a temporary card to use at a dispensary within 24 hours of your application. Your permanent card will arrive in approximately 4 to 6 weeks. If you make your application on paper and mail it in, the process takes longer. 

How much is the medical marijuana ID card? 

If you’re a qualified medical marijuana patient, the cost of the medical marijuana ID card goes by the length of time: 1 year, 2 years, or 3 years. [Source] 

  • 1-year cost: $50 
  • 2-year cost: $100 
  • 3-year cost: $125 

For qualified and designated caregivers along with patients who qualify for a reduced fee, medical marijuana cards are discounted by 50%. Their cost is: 

  • 1-year cost: $25 
  • 2-year cost: $50 
  • 3-year cost: $75 

People who could be qualified for a reduced fee include those receiving Supplemental Security Income (SSI), Social Security Disability Income (SSDI), U.S. Railroad Retirement Board Disability, Illinois Teachers’ Retirement System Disability, Illinois State Universities Retirement System Disability, or veterans. 

Illinois medical marijuana card requirements also cover people who are terminally ill. Individuals with terminal illnesses can be qualified to receive a registry card at no charge. 

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Qualifying debilitating medical conditions 

If you’re wondering what the qualifying conditions are to get a medical cannabis card in Illinois, the state considers many different medical conditions to be eligible for the medical cannabis card. These include: 

  • Autism 
  • Agitation of Alzheimer’s disease 
  • HIV/AIDS 
  • Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) 
  • Anorexia nervosa 
  • Arnold-Chiari malformation 
  • Cancer 
  • Cachexia/wasting syndrome 
  • 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 
  • Hydrocephalus 
  • Hydromyelia 
  • Interstitial cystitis 
  • Irritable bowel syndrome 
  • Lupus 
  • Migraines 
  • Multiple Sclerosis 
  • Muscular Dystrophy 
  • Myasthenia Gravis 
  • Myoclonus 
  • Nail-patella syndrome 
  • Neuro-Bechet’s autoimmune disease 
  • Neurofibromatosis 
  • Neuropathy 
  • Osteoarthritis 
  • 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 (including but not limited to arachnoiditis) 
  • 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 
  • Syringomyelia 
  • Tarlov cysts 
  • Tourette syndrome 
  • Traumatic brain injury 
  • Ulcerative colitis 

Additional Illinois medical marijuana card categories  

Another way to qualify for a medical marijuana card in Illinois is to be qualified for the Opioid Alternative Pilot Program (OAPP). If you are over age 21 and an Illinois resident and have a medical condition for which an opioid medication has been prescribed or could be subscribed, you could be eligible for this program. 

Veterans who are being treated by the Veteran’s Administration can also qualify for a medical marijuana card by submitting records of their treatment for the past 12 months using the Illinois online medical marijuana patient registry system. 

Qualifying minors applying for an Illinois medical card  

If you’re under age 18 (a minor), you need to have a physician certify that you have a qualifying condition for you or your caregiver to make an Illinois medical marijuana card application. Then, a reviewing physician needs to go over the application and your medical history and provide confirmation that the diagnosis is correct. Both physician certifications need to be submitted along with a designated caregiver. The first caregiver application is free of charge. Second and third caregivers can be added at a $75 fee. Minors can only use cannabis-infused products, not smokable products. [Source] 

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Can I go to a dispensary without a card in Illinois? 

You need to have your medical marijuana card or identification card with you to go to a medical marijuana Illinois dispensary as a medical cannabis patient. However, any adult over the age of 21 can purchase cannabis at a dispensary within legal state limits. 

Where can I legally buy medical marijuana in Illinois? 

You can legally buy medical cannabis at a licensed and regulated dispensary in Illinois. There are over 40 medical marijuana dispensaries in Illinois. The Department of Public Health maintains a list of dispensaries, their licenses, locations, and contact information. 

How can I join the RISE Illinois medical marijuana community? 

With your medical marijuana card, it’s easy—you’re eligible to visit any RISE Dispensary in Illinois and receive assistance with your medical cannabis needs. Medical cannabis patients in Illinois are no longer required to register with a specific medical cannabis dispensary. Once you have your card, RISE staff members will be happy to help you with your questions.

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