Sometimes, Illinois medical marijuana patients need help accessing and consuming their medical marijuana. Thankfully, this is where IL caregivers come in. But does a caregiver’s duty stretch past just obtaining and administering MMJ?
Caregivers assist patients with their medical marijuana needs, and their duties cover any of the following:
- Administering medical marijuana to the patient
- Transporting the patient to and from marijuana dispensaries
- Purchasing and transporting marijuana for the patient
- Preparing marijuana medication for the patient
So, what if the patients want to grow marijuana? How can caregivers help patients with growing marijuana in Illinois?
Is Marijuana Legal in Illinois?
Usually, the first thing medical marijuana patients and recreational users have to watch out for is legality.
Fortunately, that is not an issue in Illinois. Marijuana is legal in Illinois for both medical and recreational use.
Medical Marijuana in Illinois
Medical marijuana in Illinois became legal in 2013 when the Illinois General Assembly passed the Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Pilot Program Act. The act made Illinois the 20th state to legalize medical marijuana.
According to data from the Illinois Medical Cannabis Patient Program, as of June 30, 2022, the Illinois Department of Health has approved 221,098 applications for marijuana – including 991 patients aged 18 and under – since it started accepting applications for medical marijuana on September 2, 2014. The total number of active patients stands at 135,649.
There are 55 licensed medical cannabis dispensaries in Illinois, and they have sold $1.4 billion worth of cannabis since November 2015.
Recreational Marijuana in Illinois
Illinois became the 11th state to legalize recreational marijuana after Governor J.B Pritzker signed the Illinois Cannabis Regulation and Tax Act on June 25, 2019. The state also became the first to legalize recreational marijuana via the state legislature rather than a voter initiative.
The new IL marijuana laws went into effect on January 1, 2020, and legalized the production, consumption, and sale of cannabis for recreational purposes for Adults 21 and older. The law also expunged about 700,000 cannabis-related police records and court convictions in an approach conducted in phases and predicted to be completed by 2025.
On the first day of sales, retailers recorded $3,176,256.71 from 77,128 transactions, and in the first five days, they sold $10.8million worth of recreational weed.
Can You Grow Recreationally in Illinois?
If you’re considering growing marijuana in Illinois for recreational use, don’t do it, it is illegal. If the authorities catch you growing five plants or less for personal use, the penalty is a $200 fine.
Additionally, the punishment for growing weed increases with the amount you grow. Thus, you can be arrested for growing weed if you cultivate enough of it.
Illinois Marijuana Laws
Why do you need to know marijuana laws in Illinois? Since it’s legal, can’t you buy, use, and grow it however you like?
Marijuana laws are like driving laws. You can drive, but if you don’t stick to the rules and regulations, you’ll face the consequences of the law. That’s why you must understand Illinois marijuana laws.
We’ve discussed these regulations and made them easy for you to understand here.
Can You Grow Marijuana in Illinois?
Yes, you can grow your own marijuana, but only if you are a medical marijuana patient. Growing marijuana in Illinois is legal for medical marijuana patients duly registered with the Medical Cannabis Patient Program.
Patients grow up to five mature plants.
Can a Caregiver Grow Medical Marijuana in Illinois?
Caregivers help medical marijuana patients with various services, but growing marijuana is not one of them.
The medical cannabis program caregiver brochure explicitly states that a caregiver cannot “grow, possess, or distribute medical cannabis.”
Does Illinois Pay for Caregivers?
No, Illinois does not pay caregivers specifically for providing care to medical marijuana patients. Caregivers must be designated by the patient and approved by the state but are not compensated by the government for their caregiving services related to medical cannabis.
What Do I Need to Grow Marijuana?
First, if you’re growing marijuana in Illinois, keep to the rules. Use a locked and enclosed space that is not visible to the public; if necessary, obtain the property owner’s permission, stick to the limit of five plants, and most importantly, have a valid MMJ card.
Growing marijuana in Illinois indoors is excellent because you can grow it all year round, and you don’t need much space. You have total control over everything from seed to flower. If you get the growing process right, one plant can yield two to four ounces after three months.
So, are you thinking of growing marijuana in Illinois? It’s easy; you must get the right equipment and set up. In this section, we’ll walk you through everything you’ll need.
Growing cannabis is not the same as growing ornamental plants. Cannabis requires special care and attention to maximize quality and yield. If you don’t do it right, you could end up with a poor harvest. But, if you do it by the book, you’re in for a bumper and potent harvest.
Checklist for Growing Marijuana in Illinois
If you want to grow your own marijuana, you need the following:
- Marijuana seeds
- Containers for the plants
- Growing medium
- Appropriate growing environment
- Nutrients and water
Of course, the first thing you need is the seed. No seed, no plant.
Ideally, you’d want to grow a strain you like, so research the qualities and characteristics of the available strains before you start growing.
Containers for the Plants
You can grow marijuana in containers of different sizes. However, the size you eventually decide to use will depend on your grow medium and the size of your plants. You could use plastic containers, fabric containers, or ceramic pots.
The critical bit is that you don’t forget to open drainage holes in the bottom of the container to let out excess water. The marijuana plant needs water, but not water that sits there soaking up the plant. Thus, if your containers lack proper drainage, water build-up will cause root rot, fungi, and other problems.
Some experts recommend that first-time growers use fabric pots because it automatically takes care of drainage and ventilation.
Soil is the usual medium for growing marijuana indoors, but other options include coco coir, perlite, Rockwool, or hydroponics. For first-time growers, it’s best to begin with the easy stuff—fashioned soil.
The quality of your plants depends a lot on your growing medium, so it is essential to get this one right. We recommend you go for top-quality soil that contains all the qualities your plant needs to grow strong and healthy. To make things easy, you can purchase potting soil from your local nursery or grow shop.
Appropriate Growing Environment
Your growing environment concerns the space, light, ventilation, and other environmental needs of your plant.
You need a dedicated space for your plants, and next to a window is a great place to put them because of the ventilation. Also, the window space helps take care of the smell from the plants. Some people prefer growing tents, but you can do without them. Spare space in your home will do.
Subsequently, environmental conditions like temperature, light intensity, humidity, and airflow are all factors you must keep a close eye on. Additionally, your plants need 18 hours of light daily in their vegetative state and 12 hours daily in the flowering stage.
Nutrients and Water
Your marijuana plant is a picky eater. Thus, you must feed it right to get the desired results. Marijuana needs three primary nutrients to flourish; nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), and potassium (K), popularly known as NPK.
Besides the NPK, your plant needs micronutrients like copper, iron, manganese, calcium, sulfur, boron, and zinc.
Various nutrient packs are available in stores. However, make sure to apply just enough and not an excessive amount, or you’ll ruin your plant. Excess fertilization can lead to stress, damage, and even plant death.
A common grower mistake is to overwater plants. Your plants need water, but if you overdo it, you could drown them.
Also, you don’t need special water for your plants; if your tap water is good enough to drink, you can use it for your plants.
Water temperature should be between 65 and 75F, not too hot or too cold. If it’s too cold, it will shock the plants and make it difficult for the roots to absorb nutrients, and if it’s hot, it will damage the plant.
Weed Growing License IL
Growing marijuana in Illinois needs a license unless you’re growing it for personal use. So far, the Illinois Department of Agriculture has awarded 48 Craft Grow Licenses to qualified applicants. You can find a list of the awardees here.
Medical marijuana patients who are 21 years and older can grow marijuana for personal use without a cultivation center or craft grower license.
How to Get Your Medical Marijuana Card in Illinois
Thankfully, access and availability have been much easier since Illinois legalized recreational marijuana.
So, why do you still need a medical marijuana card since you can get marijuana without one? The tax benefit is a considerable incentive; you pay tax on recreational marijuana, but medical marijuana is tax-free. Also, medical marijuana cardholders have a higher possession limit.
The Illinois Medical Cannabis Patient Program is open to all residents. Anyone can apply!
You need a medical marijuana card before accessing the state medical marijuana program, and getting your MMJ card can be easy. With expert guidance, the process is quite simple.
We’ve outlined how to get your medical marijuana card in Illinois and medical marijuana Illinois requirements here.
Elevate Holistics: Growing Your Cannabis the Right Way
With Elevate Holistics, growing weed in Illinois has never been easier. Now you know how much cannabis you’re allowed to grow and how to grow your plants so you have quality products.
Our complete marijuana service includes all aspects of the marijuana industry patients need for easy access to nature’s wonder plant. We can help you get your medical marijuana card, link you with a qualified doctor, or find a licensed dispensary.