Having legalized marijuana in early 2020, Illinois is one of the states that symbolizes the changing attitudes towards cannabis use. Several states are also relaxing their stance on this substance. In Missouri, for instance, marijuana use for medical purposes was legalized in 2014. Unlike in Illinois, recreational use there is still illegal.
In Illinois, medical marijuana use has continued to rise ever since its legalization. However, its legalization for medical use came with some strict measures. For instance, a medical marijuana cardholder could only register one dispensary location from which they could purchase their marijuana. This regulation has now been repealed as of July 2021.
Medical Marijuana Laws in Illinois
Since its legalization for both recreational and medical use in January 2020, many people now operate dispensaries for consumers to purchase marijuana.
Not everyone can apply for a medical marijuana card in Illinois. Certain criteria must be met. For example, an applicant for a medical marijuana card must:
i)Be at least 18 years of age
ii) A Illinois legal resident
iii) Having a medical condition that justifies the use of medical marijuana
Getting this card makes it easy to acquire marijuana for medical purposes at licensed dispensaries.
If a person under 18 requires medical marijuana for managing a particular condition, they’ll need certification from at least two different physicians and their adult caregivers. This system of checks and balances is to ensure that minors are not roped into using marijuana. The person will also have to show proof of legal residency.
Applying for a Medical Marijuana Card
Any application for a medical marijuana card in Illinois has to begin with a visit to a physician. Such a physician must be licensed to recommend people to get a medical marijuana card. Of course, the doctor will have to examine your medical history to determine any current conditions to determine your eligibility for the medical marijuana card program. The physician can be a regular doctor (MD) or a doctor of osteopathy (OD).
Once a doctor has determined your medical eligibility, you can then gather the necessary documents and apply for a medical marijuana card. The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) oversees the issuance of medical marijuana cards through the Illinois Medical Cannabis Patient Program (MCPP). As an applicant, you’ll have to pay a certain fee for the processing of the medical marijuana card. Exceptions are only made to applicants with terminal illnesses like end-stage cancer. In certain circumstances, applicants can have their application fees reduced if they meet certain residency criteria.
i)Go to the MCPP website to access the registry. Create an account by choosing the patient registry button. Fill in the necessary user information, then click “register.”
ii) You’ll receive an email confirming your registration. This email should have a temporary password for your account. You’ll need to set a new password with your first login attempt.
iii) Go to the section labeled “+New MCPP Patient Registration.” Select the option “I am applying for myself.” Here, you’ll need to state whether your medical condition is terminal or not.
iv) Select the term for the duration of the medical marijuana card you’re applying for. This could be 1, 2, or 3 years. Depending on which option you choose, the fees may vary.
v) You’ll need to state if you need a caregiver. If so, there is a caregiver section that you’ll need to fill out after completing the patient section.
v) When filling out the forms, ensure to fill every section with an asterisk next to it. This is essential information without which your application will not move forward.
vi) Upload a 2×2 photograph. Alternatively, you can waive a photo and upload a “photo affidavit” instead.
vii) In the fee section, state whether you’re a veteran or on income disability. In case you are, you’ll need to upload the respective documents attesting to these facts.
viii) Sign the form electronically, then choose the “save” button.
Cost of a Medical Marijuana Card
Depending on what term you choose during your application, your fee will be different. For instance,
ii) Two years-$100
iii) Three years-$125
Discounts can be applied to these fees. If an applicant qualifies for a discount along with their caregiver, the fees can be reduced as follows;
ii) Two years-$50
iii) Three years-$75
Veterans, those on supplemental security income (SSI), social security disability income (SSDI), and Illinois Teachers’ Retirement System Disability are some of the groups eligible for reduced fees when applying for a medical marijuana card in Illinois.
All in all, getting a medical marijuana card in Illinois can be a straightforward thing if you match all the necessary criteria.