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Friday April 28, 2017

Updated on 6/3/2021

By Matthew Mongelia


Medical marijuana was legalized in Illinois in August 2013, allowing treatment for qualifying patients with debilitating conditions. Named the Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Pilot Program Act, the measure allows patients to register with the Illinois Department of Health (IDPH) access to medical cannabis. The act protects patients and caregivers from prosecution.

Patients with valid registry identification cards from the IDPH are able to obtain medical marijuana from a licensed dispensing facility. The amount of medical marijuana a patient is able to purchase is defined as an “adequate supply,” which generally is 2.5 ounces over a 14-day period. However, patients may apply for a waiver allowing more than 2.5 ounces if a physician provides a written statement affirming that 2.5 ounces is insufficient to alleviate a debilitating condition.

Luckily for those in need, the application process to become a medical marijuana patient in Illinois is quite simple. Once you have a doctor’s recommendation, be sure to register with the IDPH and you will be issued a state registry identification card.

Process to Become a Medical Marijuana Patient in Illinois:

As we mentioned, the fastest option is to receive a doctor’s recommendation through a qualified company with access to doctors around the country. Remember that you must prove residency in Illinois to qualify.

To become a qualifying patient in the eyes of the state of Illinois, several qualifications must be met before registering with the IDPH. Patients must:

  • Have no felony convictions

  • Be a legal resident of Illinois with proof of residency

  • Have a physician’s diagnosis and medical records confirming a debilitating medical condition

  • Obtain a written recommendation from a licensed Illinois physician affirming you are a qualifying patient

Once the requirements above are met, qualifying patients are able to register with the IDPH and receive their medical marijuana ID card.

Age Restrictions:

Qualifying patients must be at least 18 years of age or older to register with the IDPH. However, minors are allowed access if their parent or guardian completes an application for minors form and obtains a second physician’s approval.

Qualifying Health Conditions:

Patients who have been diagnosed by a licensed physician as having a debilitating medical condition are protected under the Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Pilot Program Act.

Qualifying health conditions include:

  • ALS

  • Alzheimer’s Disease

  • Arachnoiditis

  • Arnold-Chiari Malformation

  • Cachexia/Wasting Syndrome

  • Cancer

  • Causalgia

  • CIDP

  • Crohn’s Disease

  • CRPS

  • Dystonia

  • Fibrous Dysplasia

  • Glaucoma

  • Hepatitis C


  • Hydrocephalus

  • Hydromyelia

  • Interstitial Cystitis

  • Lupus

  • Multiple Sclerosis

  • Muscular Dystrophy

  • Myasthenia Gravis

  • Myoclonus

  • Nail-Patella Syndrome

  • Neurofibromatosis

  • Parkinson’s

  • PTSD

  • Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy

  • Residual Limb Pain

  • Rheumatoid Arthritis

  • RSD

  • Seizures

  • Severe Fibromyalgia

  • Sjogren's Syndrome

  • Spinal Cord Injury

  • Spinocerebellar Ataxia

  • Syringomyelia

  • Tarlov Cysts

  • Terminal Illness (< 6 Months)

  • Tourette’s

  • Traumatic Brain Injury/Post-Concussion Syndrome

Applying to Become a Medical Marijuana Patient in Illinois:

Qualifying patients who wish to obtain access to medical marijuana in Illinois must follow a multi-step process. First, you must make sure you qualify. As stated above, you must be an Illinois resident, have a qualifying medical condition and have no felony drug convictions.

Find a Doctor:

If you believe you meet the specified criteria, the next step is finding a doctor who will certify you. Because you will need a physician’s recommendation to complete the process, you’ll want to consult a reputable company.

Complete Application:

Once you have your physician’s recommendation, you’ll be ready to apply with the IDPH.

Here’s how you can easily complete the process:

  • Obtain the application (paper copy or online)

  • Decide on a caregiver

    • You may choose to have a caregiver or not, but if you do wish to have one, they must:

      • Be 21 years of age or older
      • Have no felony drug or violent crime convictions
      • Be the sole caregiver for you
      • Complete the Caregiver Application Form
  • Fill out a Fingerprint Consent Form and have your fingerprints taken by a Livescan vendor

  • Have your licensed physician complete and submit the Physician Written Certification Form

  • Submit a check for the application fee made out to IDPH

    • $250 – 3 years
    • $200 – 2 years
    • $100 – 1 year

TIP: Make a copy of your application for your records before submitting.

Get Your Medical Marijuana Card in Illinois:

If approved, you’ll receive your medical marijuana card in the mail.

Reciprocity in Illinois

Unfortunately, Illinois does not allow reciprocity for their medical marijuana program. Only qualifying patients or caregivers with valid registry identification cards are able to purchase medical cannabis in the state of Illinois.