How To Get An Illinois Medical Cannabis Card

A Step-by-Step Guide to Applying for the Illinois Medical Cannabis Patient Program

There are six steps to successfully applying to get your Illinois medical cannabis cardWhether you choose to complete the online application to get your card on your own or have our dispensary assist you, these steps will set you on the right path. 

To be eligible, an individual must be a resident of Illinois and have one or more of the qualifying conditions recognized by the Illinois medical cannabis program. Be aware that some career professionals are not permitted to become Illinois medical cannabis patients including:

  • School bus permit holders
  • CDL permit holders
  • Active duty law enforcement
  • Correctional officers
  • Firefighters

Your primary care physician should be who you approach first for this. Given they have both a license to practice medicine in Illinois and an Illinois Controlled Substances License, health care professionals that are permitted to certify patients include:

  • Doctors
  • Physician assistants
  • Advance practice nurses

If your health care professional is unwilling to complete the form; you have the right to seek out a new one.  Bring a document called the Health Care Professional Written Certification form along with you to your appointment for them to complete. We have copies of the form at the dispensary if you wish to stop by and pick one up. Upon completion of the certification, it remains valid for the next 90 days. Therefore, it is recommended to do the online application to get your Illinois medical cannabis card shortly thereafter. If you are a veteran, applying on behalf of a minor, need a caregiver or have a terminal illness, scroll down for additional guidelines that may apply.

Since the application is done online, an electronic form of payment like a debit, credit or prepaid card is neededApplicants can choose to get a:

  • $100 for a one year medical card
  • $200 for a two year medical card
  • $250 for a three year medical card

If opting to use a prepaid card, have an additional amount loaded onto it to cover the additional 2.25% online processing fee imposed by the Illinois Department of Public Health. Some applicants may qualify for a 50% off reduced application fee including:

  • Veterans that supply a DD-214 from the Veterans Affairs office with an honorable discharge notation
  • Individuals on Federal Social Security Disability Income or Supplemental Security Income that supply a Benefit Verification Letter from the Social Security office

Acceptable documents that prove your age and identity include a valid and unexpired one of the following:

  • Illinois driver’s license
  • Illinois state ID
  • U.S. passport 

If your driver’s license or state ID address is current, you will only need one proof of residency. If you submit a U.S. Passport or the address on your driver’s license or state ID is NOT current, you will need two proofs of residency. Here is a list of various proofs of residency that are acceptable: 

  • Pay stub or electronic deposit receipt (issued less than 60 days prior to the application date, that shows evidence of withholding for State income tax)
  • Valid voter registration card with an address in Illinois
  • Current military identification card
  • Bank statement (dated less than 90 days prior to application) or credit card statement (dated less than 60 days prior to application)
  • Deed/title, mortgage or rental/lease agreement; property tax bill
  • Insurance policy (current coverage for automobile, homeowner’s, health or medical, or renter’s)
  • Medical claim or statement of benefits (from a hospital or health clinic, private insurance company or public (government) agency, dated less than 12 months prior to application)
  • Tuition invoice/official mail from college or university (dated less than the 12 months prior to application)
  • Utility bill, including, but not limited to, those for electric, water, refuse, telephone land-line, cellular phone, cable or gas (issued less than 60 days prior to application)
  • W-2 from the most recent tax year  

When our dispensary assists you with processing your online application, we take a compliant passport-style photo for you. If you take the photo on your own or utilize the services of a passport vendor, be mindful that the photo must have been: 

  • Taken in the last 30 days 
  • Taken against a plain, white or off-white backdrop 
  • In natural color with no filters applied
  • Show a full view of your face looking toward the camera with a neutral facial expression and both eyes open
  • Not wearing a hat, glasses or anything that obstructs the face
  • Be at least 2 inches by 2 inches in size 

You can do this in one of two ways. One option is for our dispensary to assist you with processing of the online application free-of-charge. All you need to do is call 217-214-6337 to schedule an appointment and bring all of the appropriate documents along to that appointment. If you are choosing to process your own online application, use a desktop computer or laptop to go to medicalcannabispatients.illinois.gov on your preferred internet browser. Currently, the online application cannot be accessed via mobile or tablet devicesUpload all of your documents to a computer using a tabletop scanner or by snapping photos using the default camera app on your cellphone. That isassuming they take adequate quality images and you can crop documents to an appropriate sizeCarefully complete every section of the online application and submit accordingly.

I’ve Applied To Get My Illinois Medical Cannabis Card. Now What?

No matter if our dispensary assisted or you submitted the online application on your own, you will be issued a Provisional Access Letter via email granting you temporary access to medical cannabis usually within about 24 hours. When it becomes available, call our dispensary at (217) 214-6337 to schedule a first visit patient consultation. Bring the Provisional Access Letter and another form of identification with you to this appointment. During this first visit patient consultation, you will talk one-on-one with one of our knowledgeable dispensary technicians. They will give you a tour of our medical facility, assist in setting up an online pre-ordering for pickup account, evaluate your medical conditionrecommend a cannabis product to fit your lifestyle, and answer any questions you may have. Be mindful that the Provisional Access Letter remains valid for 90 days while IDPH examines your medical cannabis application in further detail. If any discrepancies with your online application are discoveredthe Illinois Department of Public Health will notify you via email on how to go about correcting any issues. If you are officially approved, your actual medical cannabis card will be mailed to you within a couple of weeks on average. This will need to be presented, along with another form of identification, every time that you come to the dispensary to make a purchase. If you do not receive your medical cannabis card as your provisional access letter nears expiration, contact IDPH by calling (855) 636-3688 or emailing DPH.medicalcannabis@illinois.gov. Our dispensary is not permitted to contact IDPH on your behalf. 

Caregivers

To assist their loved one in purchasing and the administering of medical cannabis, qualifying applicants can choose to designate an individual to serve as a caregiver at the time of application. The caregiver must be at least 21 years of age and a resident of Illinois. 

When the caregiver applies online with the patient they are serving, the expiration dates on the issued medical cannabis cards will be the same. Caregiver application fees are:

  • $25 for a one year medical card
  • $50 for a two-year medical card
  • $75 for a three year medical card

These prices are not inclusive of the 2.25% online processing fee imposed by the Illinois Department of Public Health. 

Caregivers must follow the same steps as patients to obtain their medical card with the exception of the health care professional certification. It is suggested that caregivers are assigned during the patient application process but it isn’t a requirement. Caregivers can always be added at a later date for a $75 fee but they will need to complete a paper application instead. Download and print the Application for a Designated Caregiver Registry Identification Card form and follow the included instructions for mailing to the Illinois Department of Public Health. When the caregiver card is issued, its expiration date will mirror that of the patient they are serving. 

Terminal Illness

Individuals who have been diagnosed with a terminal illness with a projected life expectancy of six months or less have the option to apply for an Illinois medical cannabis card. These individuals are not subject to paying an application fee and the card they will be issued is only valid for a six-month duration. If you have a terminal illness, have your health care professional complete the Health Care Professional Confirmation of Diagnosis of Terminal Illness form. Any persons whose diagnosis is no longer deemed terminal after a period of six months may submit an application for a one, two, or three-year medical cannabis card. Procedures for veterans, caregivers and minors applying under the terminal illness category do differ

Veterans with a terminal illness receiving Veterans Affairs health care services need to:

Minors with a terminal illness will need to:

Caregivers of a terminally ill patient must:

Minors

Qualifying individuals under the age of 18 are not required to submit a passport-style photo with their online application to get their medical card. However, they are required to:

Please understand that caregivers of minors will only be allowed to purchase medical cannabis-infused products from dispensaries. Other types of medical cannabis products including ones that require inhalation are strictly prohibited.

When a qualifying patient reaches 18 years of age during the time frame that their card is still valid, they are welcome to reapply immediately for the registry again as an adult or wait until their renewal approaches. Until they apply as an adult though, the registry identification card shall be subject to the conditions applicable to the registered qualifying patient under age 18. If you fall into this small age demographic as a new patient, you would be subject to obtaining a physician certification like any other medical cannabis patient but authorization by a reviewing physician is no longer a necessary step

Veterans

Veterans receiving health care from a Veterans Affairs facility have no need to submit a Health Care Professional Written Certification. Instead, these individuals need to: 

  • Obtain the last 12 months of VA medical records that show the diagnosis of a qualifying condition. (Medical records are accessible by logging into the online VA portal at myhealth.va.gov or by requesting them from your local VA facility.) 
  • All other necessary steps to get your Illinois medical cannabis card remain the same