Frequently Asked Questions

  • How do I qualify for a patient registry ID card in Illinois Medical Cannabis Program (MCP)?

    To qualify for a patient registry identification card, a qualifying patient must:

    • Be a resident of the State of Illinois at the time of application and remain a resident during participation in the program;
    • Have a qualifying debilitating medical condition;
    • Have a signed physician certification (unless you are a veteran receiving medical care at a VA facility);
    • Be at least 18 years of age;
    • Not hold a school bus permit or Commercial Driver’s License (CDL); and
    • Not be an active duty law enforcement officer, correctional officer, correctional probation officer, or firefighter.

  • What are the qualifying debilitating medical conditions in Illinois?

    Qualifying patients must be diagnosed with a debilitating condition, as defined in the Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Program Act, to be eligible for a medical cannabis registry identification card in Illinois.

    • 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

  • Can minors qualify for the MCP in Illinois?

    health care professional certification is required as well as a reviewing health care professional certification.

    A designated caregiver shall be specified for a minor qualifying patient:

    • A qualifying patient under 18 years of age may identify two designated caregivers if both biological parents or two legal guardians have significant decision-making responsibilities over the qualifying patient; or
    • If only one biological parent or legal guardian has significant decision-making responsibilities for the qualifying patient under 18 years of age, then a second designated caregiver may be identified.

    Minor qualifying patients do not need to submit a photo. Families may choose a one-year, two-year card, or three-year Medical Cannabis Registry Card for a minor. One caregiver is included at no charge in the application for a minor. A second caregiver may be added by completing a caregiver application and submitting a $75.00 fee. 

  • What is the OAP?

    The Opioid Alternative Program (OAP) is a separate program from Illinois MCP. This allows patients with any condition that currently requires or may require under current medical standards the use of opiates temporary (3 months) access to the Illinois Medical Cannabis Program.

    Qualifying patients for OAP must be at least 21 years old and be a resident of Illinois.

    Licensed physicians must certify the qualifying patients has a medical condition for which an opioid has been or could be prescribed based on generally accepted standards of care.

    Veterans with a current prescription for an opioid who are receiving medical services at VA facilities shall be eligible to register for the OAP effective September 30, 2019.

    Check out the Illinois Department of Public Health’s OAP page for more information.

  • How do I apply for a MCP patient registry ID card in Illinois?

    You must apply through the online application system for patients and caregivers through the MCP. You must create an account by registering. Once you’ve registered, you will need to upload your signed physician certification (unless you are a veteran—see next section), a valid ID, two documents proving residency, and a 2×2 photo. 

    After your application is submitted and paid, you will receive provisional access within 24 hours and should get your card within a month. Provisional cards are valid up to 90 days.

  • Can I apply to the MCP if I am a veteran?

    Yes. Even though doctors at the VA are currently not allowed to certify you for your card due to federal laws, you can still get your card. In most states, you would have to see a civilian doctor, but Illinois has addressed this issue and only requires that you forward your “Blue Button report” found on myhealth.va.gov, with your diagnosis of your qualifying condition. You do not need a doctor’s approval. Visit this Illinois Department of Public Health page to find out more about applying as a veteran.

  • Do I need a physician referral to qualify for the Illinois MCP?

    Yes. As a patient, you must have your debilitating medical condition certified by a certifying healthcare professional. This healthcare professional must fill out and sign in blue ink your Health Care Professional Written Certification Form. You, the patient, will then upload the form with your application on the patient registry.   

  • Which medical providers can certify me for medical cannabis?

    The medical provider must be a doctor of medicine or osteopathy licensed under the Medical Practice Act of 1987, have a controlled substances license under Article III of Illinois Controlled Substances Act, be in good standing to practice medicine in Illinois, and have a bona fide physician-patient relationship with the patient they are certifying for medical cannabis. 

    Illinois currently allows telehealth visits—virtual visits over the phone or computer. For a hassle-free, same-day visit with a compassionate cannabis doctor, book an appointment with Elevate Holistics today!

  • Does IDPH provide a list of medical providers who will certify me for the MCP?

    No. In order for a healthcare professional to certify a qualifying patient for medical cannabis, there must be a bona fide healthcare professional-patient relationship. Qualifying patients should begin the application process by having a discussion with the healthcare professionals who treat their debilitating conditions and their primary care provider. IDPH will not maintain or publish a list of practitioners who issue healthcare professional certifications.

  • Can I have a caregiver?

    Yes. You may designate a caregiver to assist with the use of medical cannabis. Patients under the age of 18 may have two designated caregivers, if both are parents or legal guardians with significant decision-making responsibility for the patient. Designated caregivers must be 21 years of age or older and must apply for a registry ID card online through the state’s online application portal

    A patient’s designated caregiver may purchase and possess up to 2.5 ounces of medical cannabis from a state-licensed dispensary. 

  • Are there application fees for patients and caregivers?

    Yes. Qualifying patients and caregivers may apply for a one-, two-, or three-year registry identification card. Persons who are receiving Social Security Disability Income (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and veterans may be eligible for a reduced application fee.

    Application fees for Qualifying Patients:

    • One-year – $100 (Reduced – $50)
    • Two-year – $200 (Reduced – $100)
    • Three-year – $250 (Reduced – $125)

    Application fees for Designated Caregivers:

    In order to enter or make a purchase of medical cannabis at a licensed dispensary or assist a registered qualifying patient with the use of medical cannabis, the designated caregiver must have a registry identification card. The expiration date for the caregiver and the patient card will be the same.

    • One-Year – $25
    • Two-Year – $50
    • Three-Year – $75
    • Caregiver applying separately for a patient who has already been registered – $75

  • Will insurance cover my medical marijuana in Illinois?

    Unfortunately, no it will not. At this time, medical providers are not offering coverage for medical marijuana patients.

  • As an MCP registered patient, can I go to any dispensary in Illinois?

    Illinois requires you register with one dispensary, but you can request a change by emailing dph.changedispensary@illnois.gov with your information (including QP #) and the information of the dispensary you want to switch to. IDPH should email you back within 24-48 hours confirming your change. More details can be found on the Illinois Department of Public Health website.  

  • How much medical cannabis can I, as a patient, purchase?

    A registered qualifying patient may purchase up to 2.5 ounces of medical cannabis during a 14-day period. This amount of medical cannabis, called the “adequate supply,” is defined in Section 10 of the Act. Purchases of medical cannabis can only be made at a licensed medical cannabis dispensary.

  • Can I obtain an increase in my adequate supply?

    The registered patient’s healthcare professional may submit a signed, written statement asserting that in the healthcare professional’s professional judgment, 2.5 ounces is an insufficient adequate supply to properly alleviate the patient’s debilitating medical condition or symptoms associated with the patient’s debilitating medical condition. Get a waiver form here

    The waiver must be mailed by the healthcare professional and must be accompanied by a $25 check or money order from the patient. If the Department approves the waiver, the amount of medical cannabis recommended by the healthcare professional shall be noted on the registry identification card. If the healthcare professional submitting the waiver is not the healthcare professional who signed the certification which was submitted with the patient’s application, a healthcare professional certification must be completed and submitted with the waiver form.

  • How do I renew my card?

    If you are seeking a renewal or extension to a current registry identification card and have received a letter from IDPH, you need to complete the online renewal application

  • Can I grow my own marijuana in Illinois?

    Only medical patients in Illinois will be allowed to cultivate up to five plants in a private residency, starting January 1, 2020. Cannabis seeds may be purchased at a dispensary and no more than five plants may be grown per household regardless of the number of patients that live there. There is a $200 fine for non-medical patients found to be growing up to five plants, with further penalties for higher plant counts.

  • Will I be able to shop at recreational dispensaries? If so, do I still pay tax?

    The short answer is you will be able to shop at dispensaries that are licensed for both medical and rec. And you will pay medical prices there. But if you lose your card or go to a rec dispensary, you will only be able to purchase as a rec customer and must pay the additional taxes.

  • Does my Medical Cannabis card protect me against pre-employment drug tests?

    Unfortunately, the answer is no in Illinois. It is still up to your employer whether they perform such tests. However, if a company does not have a policy for pre-employment drug tests, they may not single you out based on the fact that you have a card. 

  • What if I lose my Illinois cannabis card?

    If you lose your card, you won’t be able to get into your dispensary. To get a new one sent you will need to fill out a form and pay $25.