What Is a Caregiver and What Do They Do?

The medical marijuana field is full of confusing, strange terminology that most of us have never heard of before. If you’ve started reading up on MMJ programs and how they operate, you’ve probably come across the term “caregiver” at least a handful of times. So, what is an Illinois medical cannabis caregiver, and what the heck do they do?

Cannabis caregivers are people a qualifying patient has designated to purchase, cultivate, and dispense medical marijuana on the patient’s behalf. Not every person can travel to dispensaries and purchase cannabis, especially if they are under the age of 18. That’s exactly why caregivers do what they do. 

To be a designated caregiver, you must register as a such. Then, you'll receive an MMJ card that allows you to purchase and handle medical marijuana for your designated patient. If you’re picking up cannabis for anyone other than yourself, it is illegal for the caregiver to consume or use the products in any way. 

Ilinois cannabis caregiver
Illinois Medical Cannabis Caregiver

Why Be a Caregiver?

Many people choose to be caregivers because they’re already taking care of their designated patient in one way or another. For minors, caregivers are the child’s parent or guardian, allowing the parental figure to conduct all cannabis-related purchases and decision-making. 

There is also a chance that someone close to you requires a little bit of everyday assistance. These people may greatly benefit from an Illinois medical cannabis caregiver, as they do not have to deal with the process whatsoever; instead, someone like you can do it seamlessly. 

People become caregivers simply to help out. You’re ensuring that those close to you can get their medication safely, efficiently, and comfortably. That’s really all it is!

Illinois Medical Cannabis Caregiver Requirements

To be a caregiver in Illinois, you need to be at least 21 years old, an in-state resident, and properly register with the state. Also, the patient you are hoping to represent needs to be either a minor or physically disabled in some way. They must require your assistance. 

Unfortunately, you cannot be an IL caregiver if you have been convicted of an “excluded offense.” This includes:

  • Violent crime defined in Section 3 of Rights of Crime Victims and Witnesses Act, or a substantially similar offense.
  • Felony violation of state or federal controlled substances act. (Department may waive restriction if the applicant demonstrates that conviction related to possession, cultivation, transfer, or delivery of reasonable amount for medical use.)

No exception is allowed if the conviction is related to a violation of the Medical Cannabis Act.

Caregiver FAQS

Can an IL caregiver have more than one patient?

No, in Illinois, caregivers can only be with one patient at a time. 

Can caregivers also be MMJ patients?

Yes, caregivers in Illinois can be MMJ patients themselves. 

What if you have a criminal history?

This will depend on what the criminal history entails. As we stated above, you cannot get a card if you’ve been convicted of a cannabis-related crime or one of the two other excluded offenses. 

How much does it cost to get your caregiver’s license?

A one-year registry fee costs $25, and a two-year price is $50. 

How to Apply

So, how exactly does someone apply to be an Illinois medical cannabis caregiver? Thankfully, the process is just as easy as applying for an MMJ card yourself. 

First, start by heading over to the Illinois Department of Public Health website and fill out an application for a Designated Caregiver Registry Card. Along with this application, you need to have an Illinois state ID (of varying forms, as long it proves your identification and proof of residency), your patient’s physician recommendation, and a recent passport-like photo of yourself. 

To check your background history, you will also be asked to attach a fingerprint scan. To find a proper vendor, you can check here

Finally, gather all this documentation and send it off to the Illinois Department of Public Health Division of Medical Cannabis at 535 West Jefferson Street, Springfield, IL, 62761.

Turning to Elevate to Help

Here at Elevate Holistics, we strive to make getting your MMJ card and other medical cannabis documents as simple as possible. We help our patients receive same-day appointments and all from the comfort of your own home, too.  No matter what kind of cannabis-related services you need or are hoping to inquire about, we have cannabis experts to help you every step of the way.