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How to Get a Medical Cannabis Card in Illinois [2023]

If you live in Illinois and suffer from a qualifying medical condition, you may be eligible for the Illinois Medical Cannabis Patient Registry Program. By obtaining an Illinois medical cannabis card, you can legally purchase and use cannabis to alleviate the symptoms of certain qualifying medical conditions.

A doctor and patient in a consultation.
Consult with your doctor to see if medical cannabis is right for you.

Step 1: What are the Qualifying Conditions for Medical Cannabis in Illinois?

The first step in obtaining your medical cannabis card is to determine whether you have a qualifying medical condition. In Illinois, you may be eligible for medical cannabis treatment if you have any of the following conditions:

• Agitation of Alzheimer’s disease
• Acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS)
• Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS)
• Anorexia nervosa
• Arnold-Chiari malformation
• Autism
• Cancer
• Causalgia
• Chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyneuropathy
• Chronic pain
• Crohn’s disease
• CRPS (complex regional pain syndromes Type II)
• Dystonia
• Ehlers-Danlos syndrome (EDS)
• 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-Behcet’s autoimmune disease
• Neuropathy
• Neurofibromatosis
• Osteoarthritis
• Parkinson’s disease
• Polycystic kidney disease (PKD)
• Positive status for human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)
• Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
• Reflex sympathetic dystrophy (RSD) complex regional pain syndromes Type I
• Residual limb pain
• Rheumatoid
• Arthritis (RA)
• Seizures (including those characteristic 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 objective neurological indication of intractable spasticity.
• Spinocerebellar ataxia (SCA)
• Superior canal dehiscence syndrome
• Syringomyelia
• Tarlov cysts
• Tourette’s syndrome
• Traumatic brain injury (TBI) and post-concussion syndrome
• Ulcerative colitis
• Cachexia/wasting syndrome

Step 2: Get your Medical Marijuana Patient Certification

If you suffer from any one or more of the qualifying conditions, the next step is to get a doctor’s recommendation for treatment with medical cannabis. Your doctor or healthcare provider will need to fill out a certification form confirming that you have a qualifying medical condition and that medical cannabis may help alleviate your symptoms.

Other qualifying conditions for obtaining an Illinois Medical Card:

• You must be 18 years or older OR a minor with an adult caregiver.
• A legal resident of the state of Illinois with proof of residency.
• Not hold a school bus permit or Commercial Driver’s License (CDL); and
• Not be an active-duty law enforcement officer or firefighter.

A mock-up of an Illinois state medical card.
Applying for your medical doesn’t have to be complicated.

Step 3: Apply to Get a Medical Cannabis Card in Illinois

Once you have your doctor’s certification, you can apply for a medical cannabis card online through the Illinois Department of Public Health. You’ll need to provide the following documentation:

• A copy of your government-issued ID
• Proof of Illinois residency (such as a utility bill or lease agreement)
• A passport-style photo of yourself
• Payment for the application fee (The cost of getting a medical cannabis card in Illinois ranges from $25 to $300 depending on term length and application type)
• After submitting your application, you’ll need to wait for it to be reviewed and processed. If approved, you’ll receive your medical cannabis card in the mail within 30 days.

Step 4: Receive and Print Your Provisional Card

Once you have successfully submitted the online application and paid your application fee, approved applicants will receive a temporary card by email within a 24-hour window. You may then log into your MCPP portal and print a provisional letter.

This letter will allow you to visit a dispensary on the same day. You may use your provisional card while you wait for your permanent card to arrive which may take anywhere from 4 to 6 weeks.

A photo of Enlightened Dispensary - Mt. Prospect which serves medical patients.
Enlightened Mt. Prospect serves medical patients and adult-use customers.

Step 5: Visit Your Local Medical Dispensary

When you have received your registry card (permanent or provisional), you may visit Enlightened Dispensary – Mount Prospect to shop the medical cannabis menu. Be sure to bring your printed card along with your state ID or Driver’s License. Once you arrive, our knowledgeable budtenders will help guide you to cannabis products that suit your lifestyle needs.

Why Get an Illinois Medical Cannabis Card?

There are several benefits to being a registered medical cannabis patient in Illinois. First and foremost, you’ll have certain legal protections when purchasing and using cannabis. Registered patients who qualify for the medical cannabis program also pay a much lower tax rate (from 1%-2.25% depending on the municipality or county tax rate) on qualifying cannabis medicine.

In addition, medical cannabis is often less expensive than recreational cannabis, and registered patients can purchase larger quantities of cannabis at one time – up to 2.5 ounces in a 14-day period. Finally, registered patients have access to medical cannabis in states that offer reciprocity with Illinois.

Illinois Medical Cannabis Laws

It’s important to note that while medical cannabis is legal in Illinois, there are still limitations and restrictions on its use. For example, you cannot legally smoke cannabis in public places, and employers may still choose to drug test employees who use medical cannabis.

It is also against the law to consume cannabis and operate a motor vehicle. Always check the current laws and regulations for cannabis in Illinois to ensure that you understand your rights and responsibilities as a registered medical cannabis patient.

Should I Get a Medical Card?

Obtaining a medical cannabis card in Illinois doesn’t need to be a complicated process. It’s well worth the effort for those suffering from qualifying medical conditions. Registered medical cannabis patients in Illinois pay a lower tax rate, gain legal protections, and get access to a wider range of cannabis products than recreational users.

If you have questions about the application process or the Illinois Medical Cannabis Program, please contact the Illinois Department of Public Health

Phone: 855-636-3688
Email: [email protected]

Sources:

Illinois Department of Public Health – Medical Cannabis Patient Registry Program
MyTax Illinois
Illinois General Assembly – (410 ILCS 705/) Cannabis Regulation and Tax Act.

Medical FAQ