How To Get A Medical Marijuana Card in Illinois 2021

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In Growing Marijuana in Illinois – IL Cannabis State Laws (2021) we gave a brief overview on how Illinois residents can apply to their state’s medical marijuana program. Recreational marijuana is already legal in the Prairie State but there are certain cases where patients may still want to register for a medical marijuana card.

Overview of Medical Marijuana in Illinois

In 2013, The Illinois General Assembly passed the Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Pilot Program Act. However, the rules were some of the strictest in the nation, including patients giving up their firearms, having a bona fide physician-patient relationship that extends beyond a marijuana recommendation, and paying a costly $150 a year fee. In that same year, Governor Patrick Quinn signed into law the state’s medical marijuana program.

You can read up on the rules here: Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Program Act.

Illinois’ medical marijuana law allows registered patients to possess up to 2.5 ounces and purchase the same amount every 14 days. Patients and their caregivers may also cultivate up to five mature plants at home. 

Qualifying conditions

  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS)
  • Anorexia nervosa
  • “Any medical condition for which an opioid has been or could be prescribed by a physician based on generally accepted standards of care”
  • Arnold Chiari malformation
  • Autism
  • Cachexia/wasting syndrome
  • Cancer
  • Causalgia
  • Chronic Inflammatory Demyelinating Polyneuropathy
  • Chronic pain
  • Complex regional pain syndrome type 2
  • Crohn’s Disease
  • Dystonia
  • Ehlers-Danlos syndrome
  • Fibromyalgia
  • 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-traumatic stress
  • Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy (RSD)
  • Rheumatoid Arthritis
  • Sjogren’s syndrome
  • Spinal cord disease
  • Spinocerebellar Ataxia (SCA)
  • Superior canal dehiscence syndrome
  • Syringomyelia
  • Tarlov cysts
  • Tourette’s syndrome
  • Traumatic brain injury and post-concussion syndrome
  • Ulcerative colitis
  • A terminal illness with a life expectancy of 6 months or less

The state’s Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Program also gives patients with prescription for opioids a choice to use marijuana for their condition instead. Those who want to qualify for medical marijuana under the e Alternative to Opioids Act of 2018 need to register into the OAPP which has its own registration process.

If your condition is not on the list, you may submit a petition for it to be added as a qualifying debilitating condition. However, petitions are only accepted by the Illinois Department of Public Health from January 1 to 31 of every year. 

Even patients under 18 afflicted with a qualifying condition that needs medical marijuana can register for the program, as long as they do so with the help of their parents or legal guardians. However, they will need a health care professional certification as well as a reviewing health care professional certification. Minor patients may have up to 3 caregivers but at least one has to be the parent or legal guardian.

Caregivers

Patients in Illinois under 18, or those who are too ill to provide care for themselves may have up to 3 designated caregivers. The applicant should be: 

  • An Illinois resident at least 21 years old 
  • At least one caregiver has to be the parent or legal guardian of the minor patient

Why should you get a medical marijuana card in Illinois?

Even though recreational marijuana is already legal in Illinois, there are several good reasons why those with qualifying debilitating conditions would want to get a medical marijuana card. One of the most compelling reasons is that only registered patients are allowed to grow at home. There is also a higher possession limit for medical marijuana and it is also exempted from certain taxes.  

How to get a medical marijuana card in Illinois

The process of registering into the Illinois Medical Cannabis Patient Registry Program is fairly straightforward and can be done online. Here are the steps you need to take to get your medical marijuana card in Illinois: 

For patients and caregivers

  1. Consult with a licensed physician certified to give a recommendation for medical marijuana in Illinois.
  2. Go to the Illinois Cannabis Tracking System (ICTS) portal and click on MCPP Patient Registration. The Caregiver application form can also be found here.
  3. Choose the appropriate category for your application. This can be any of the following:
    • Patient with a caregiver
    • Patient without a caregiver
    • Minor patient
    • Terminal patient 
    • Terminal minor patient
  4. Provide your information and Healthcare Professional Certification if you are a patient.
  5. Go to the Payment tab to submit your payment.

Those who prefer to process their registration via mail may send their completed applications to:

Illinois Department of Public Health
Division of Medical Cannabis
535 West Jefferson Street
Springfield, Illinois 62761-0001

The fee depends on the duration of validity of your registration. A medical marijuana card valid for 1 year for regular patients will cost $50 but only $125 for 3 years. To see the fee structure for other application types, check the MCPP Registry Card Fees

In Illinois, you do not need to wait for your card in the mail. Once you’ve been approved in the system, you will be able to print a card or provisional letter 

Frequently Asked Questions on Getting a Illinois Medical Marijuana Card

Why do I need to medical marijuana card?

Residents of Illinois don’t have to get a medical marijuana card if they want to possess, purchase, and grow cannabis since cannabis was recently legalized in the state. However, an MMJ card will allow holders to possess and buy higher amounts of medical marijuana which is not subject to taxes, and grow up to 5 mature plants at home. It is also the only way minors in the state can legally medicate with cannabis.

Who is eligible for medical marijuana card?

Patients in Illinois with at least one of the qualifying conditions below are eligible for a medical marijuana card:

Patient Qualifying Conditions
Alzheimer’s disease
Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS)
Anorexia nervosa
Arnold Chiari malformation
Autism
Cachexia/wasting syndrome
Cancer
Causalgia
Chronic Inflammatory Demyelinating Polyneuropathy
Chronic pain
Complex regional pain syndrome type 2
Crohn’s Disease
Dystonia
Ehlers-Danlos syndrome
Fibromyalgia
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-traumatic stress
Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy (RSD)
Rheumatoid Arthritis
Sjogren’s syndrome
Spinal cord disease
Spinocerebellar Ataxia (SCA)
Superior canal dehiscence syndrome
Syringomyelia
Tarlov cysts
Tourette’s syndrome
Traumatic brain injury and post-concussion syndrome
Ulcerative colitis
A terminal illness with a life expectancy of 6 months or less
“Any medical condition for which an opioid has been or could be prescribed by a physician based on generally accepted standards of care”

Why would I want a medical marijuana card?

A medical marijuana card is the only way a minor with a debilitating condition will be able to use cannabis in Illinois. Patients registered in the Illinois MCPP also have higher possession limits and are allowed to grow up to 5 plants at home.

How long does the process take?

In Illinois, you do not need to wait for your card in the mail. Once you’ve been approved in the system, you will be able to print a card or provisional letter 

How much does it cost to obtain a medical marijuana card?

The cost of a medical marijuana card in Illinois can be as low as $50 for 1 year but the cost may be discounted for 3 year validity durations. You can see all of the MCPP’s card fees here.

How many plants can I grow with medical marijuana card?

Medical marijuana patients in Illinois may grow up to 5 mature plants at home.

How much marijuana can I keep with medical marijuana card?

Patients registered in Illinois’ medical marijuana program may possess up to 2.5 ounces and purchase the same amount every 14 days.

Conclusion

If you’re a patient in Illinois who needs medical marijuana for your debilitating condition, you may want to get a medical marijuana card to be able to buy and possess more at a lower price. Compared to other states, the cost of application is fairly cheap, starting at just $50. Additionally, an Illinois MMJ card will allow the holder to grow up to 5 mature plants, which is not an option for recreational users.

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