Acquiring a Medical Cannabis Card
Applying to become a patient or caregiver in the Illinois Medical Cannabis Pilot Program is a multi-step process: first, determine that you qualify; second, make sure your doctor will recommend you for the program; and third, fill out the application. It’s a little complicated, but we’re here to help – by email, by phone or in person.
- Determine that you qualify
- You must be an Illinois resident
- You may not have been convicted of a felony drug crime.
- You must have a qualifying medical condition.
- Make sure your physician will certify you. If your physician has concerns about allowing you access to cannabis or simply refuses to sign the certification form reach out to us and we will help.
- Get the Application: either download a paper copy to mail in or apply online.
- Decide if you want a Caregiver. A caregiver is someone designated by a patient to purchase cannabis either with the patient or on their behalf. Caregivers can accompany patients inside the retail area of the dispensary or come alone without the patient. Regardless, caregivers have all of the privileges of purchasing and possessing cannabis as patients do. In order to qualify, caregivers must:
- Be at least 21 years old
- Not have been convicted of a felony drug crime or violent crime
- May only serve this role for a single patient
- If you do want a Caregiver, then fill in your caregiver’s information on your application and have them complete the Caregiver Application Form.
- Complete the Fingerprint Consent Form and have a Livescan vendor take your fingerprints. Fingerprinting is performed at Dispensary33, Sunday through Thursday. The fee is $50 but you will also receive $50 in store vouchers for your first visit. Drop-in hours are: Sun: 10a-6p // Mon & Wed: 11am-2pm // Tues & Thurs: 3pm-6pm. We do not perform fingerprinting on Friday or Saturday.
- Have your physician complete the Physician Written Certification Form. Your physician, rather than you, must submit this document directly to the State.
- Provide a check made out to IDPH for the application fee: $250 for 3 years, $200 for 2 years or $100 for 1 year. For caregivers, the fee is $75/$50/$25 for 3, 2 or 1 year.
If you are a veteran receiving care from a Veterans Affairs facility, you will not need a physician to sign any forms on your behalf. Go to the Release of Information office at your VA and request your last year of medical records (you will have to submit VA Form 10-5345a to authorize this, but there will be no charge) as well as VA Form DD214 to certify your dates of service and condition of discharge. Include all of these documents with your application and submit by mail.
For more information on receiving your records, please go to the Jesse Brown VA Medical Center website.
The Parent or Guardian of a qualifying minor will have to fill out the Application for Minors and will also need a to acquire a second, reviewing physician’s approval. Go to the Forms Page for the complete set and reach out to us with any questions.
Anyone who has received a diagnosis of terminal illness, with a prognosis of less than 6 months of life, will have their application processed in no more than 2 weeks, will not require fingerprinting and will have their application fee waived. This application must be completed on paper and mailed in. Instructions and the form are here.
A PTSD applies not only to veterans of military service, but to any survivor of trauma who suffers lingering, debilitating emotional and psychological effects – this includes survivors of sexual assault and other acts of violence as well as adults who as children witnessed shootings and other traumatic events, to name just a couple of examples. It is estimated close to 500,000 Illinois residents currently suffer from the condition. Click here for more information and to take a self-assessment test.
Federal courts have established that physicians have a first amendment right to recommend cannabis. In Illinois, in order for patients to qualify to purchase medical cannabis a physician must complete a written certification on their behalf.
While we question the validity of the decades long “War on Drugs” and attempt to view policy through the lens of public health concerns, we find that what has been lacking is scientific research and a compassionate approach.
Today however, new research concerning the possible benefits of cannabis is altering the discussion. It is nearly impossible to ignore the fact that the rhetoric demonizing cannabis was grossly overstated. Polling indicates that more than 40% of Americans have used cannabis. That’s a large number of people who have personal experience. These people are your family and friends and neighbors. They are lawyers and doctors and parents. At best, we know someone who has benefitted greatly from using cannabis.
A person who could alleviate pain without, or with fewer, prescription painkillers. A person who could regain their appetite after undergoing chemotherapy. A child who could reduce seizure occurrences. Anecdotal cases demand further research. We are far from drawing absolute conclusions.However, we must weigh any possible negative side effects of cannabis use against its many, many potential benefits. The great shift occurring now is motivated by the desire to side with the patient’s wishes.
We know there is a lot of information to sift through. That’s why our opinions are always guided by patient experience and the best research available. We spend a lot of time reading papers and vetting them for credibility. We don’t get our knowledge from random web articles and neither should you.
Illinois was the 23rd state to pass legislation legalizing the use of cannabis to treat certain medical conditions. Every state has different rules that govern medical cannabis use and the rules here are different than other states, even ones that only allow medical and not recreational use.
Doctors can’t actually prescribe cannabis in the US, but they can help patients gain access to it by filling out a Physician Certification Form and send it, themselves, to the State. This form essentially states that you have one of the Debilitating Medical Conditions and that the doctor recommends cannabis for you.
Unfortunately, no. Only people with one or more of the approved conditions can qualify. However, there is a process (albeit a slow one) by which the State can be petitioned to add conditions. The application to add a Condition is at the bottom of the Forms page.
Yes, but there is a different application form that the patient’s legal guardian must fill out and, in addition to the doctor’s recommendation form, a second doctor must fill out a reviewing doctor’s certification form.
Other states may have doctors who offer services that cater to patients specifically seeking to use medical cannabis, but the laws In Illinois are meant to keep that from happening here. You can’t just see a doctor for a single visit and get your recommendation signed. You have to be in that doctor’s “continuing care”. However, you are free to have multiple doctors; only one of them would need to agree to sign off on allowing you access to cannabis treatment. If you are having difficulty finding a doctor, please contact us.
No. Illinois does not allow any persons to grow cannabis. Only the licensed Cultivation Centers can grow.
Patients may only purchase from among state-licensed dispensaries. In addition, patients have to be pre-registered at one particular dispensary of their choosing and can only buy at that specific location. Patients may change dispensaries as often as they like and are not charged to do so; each change should take 1-2 business days. The dispensary selection form to change dispensaries can be found at our Forms page.
By default, patients are allowed to purchase up to 2.5 oz. of cannabis in any 2-week period. However, physicians are allowed to recommend a higher allowance – in our experience, we have seen patients with twice, and sometimes triple, the regular allowance. Even if a patient is originally allowed only 2.5oz, a physician may increase this amount by resubmitting a portion of the Physician Certification Form without any additional fees to the patient.
For concentrates and edibles, the cannabis allotments are determined by how much cannabis was used to make them. Every product will have this amount registered into the computer system to keep track.
Essentially, you can only medicate in private, because patients cannot use cannabis in:
• Any public place, including anywhere other people can see.
• Any government building
• Any school or daycare or school bus
You can’t use cannabis in your car or operate a motor vehicle, aircraft or boat while under the influence. Patients can possess cannabis in their car, as long as it is in a sealed, tamper-evident container.
No. You can’t give or sell anyone else cannabis, even if they are a registered patient.
Yes. In Illinois, patients can designate a caregiver to purchase cannabis products from dispensaries on their behalf. Patients may only have one designated caregiver at any time and caregivers may only serve one patient at any time. Requirements for caregivers are that the must:
– be at least 21 years old
– be a resident of Illinois
– not have been convicted of an excluded offense
Caregivers have to apply for registration with the Department of Public Heath. It’s a separate form, and it’s on our Forms page.