It’s back by popular demand. I’m picking up on the series on how to get medical marijuana in various states. Today, we’re going to travel to Illinois – a state that I spent my college years at Northwestern University. So, let’s get started with how to get medical marijuana in Illinois.
First and foremost, to qualify for a medical marijuana registry card, you must:
- Be a resident of Illinois and remain a resident during participation in the program;
- 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.
STEP 1 – see a physician to certify your debilitating condition or terminal illness.
The Illinois Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Pilot Program requires a physician to certify the diagnosis of a debilitating condition or terminal illness.
Which debilitating conditions are eligible for a medical cannabis card in Illinois?
- Agitation of Alzheimer’s disease
- Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS)
- Arnold-Chiari malformation
- Chronic Inflammatory Demyelinating Polyneuropathy
- Crohn’s Disease
- CRPS (complex regional pain syndrome Type II)
- Fibrous Dysplasia
- Hepatitis C
- Interstitial Cystitis
- Multiple Sclerosis
- Muscular Dystrophy
- Myasthenia Gravis
- Nail-Patella Syndrome
- Parkinson’s Disease
- 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 with objective neurological indication of intractable spasticity
- Spinocerebellar Ataxia
- Tarlov Cysts
- Tourette Syndrome
- Traumatic Brain Injury
- Cachexia/Wasting Syndrome
When it comes to your physician…
The physician must be licensed in Illinois, have a controlled substances license, be in good standing to practice medicine in Illinois, and have a bona fide physician-patient relationship with the patient whose debilitating condition he/she is certifying.
The bona-fide physician-patient relationship can’t be limited to just issuing a certification for the patient. The physician is also responsible for your ongoing care and treatment, provided that the ongoing treatment and care isn’t for the primary purpose of just certifying a debilitating medical condition.
Your physician complete an in-person full assessment, which includes reviewing your medical history, your current medical condition, a review of your medical records and also a physical examination.
Finally, should you qualify, your physician will certify that you are under the physician’s care for your debilitating medical condition.
The physician’s certification does not constitute a prescription for medical cannabis so it’s not going to specify the dosage for medical cannabis.
By the way, per the Illinois Dept. of Public Health, qualifying patients do not need to pay a special fee to their physician for the physician’s certification. However, the physician may accept payment for the fee associated with the consultation required to issue certification.
Does Illinois Department of Public Health provide a list of physicians who certify patients for the medical cannabis program?
Unfortunately, they don’t. They don’t maintain or publish a list of physicians who issue certifications. The Public Health Dept. recommends that qualifying patients start the application process by having a discussion with the physicians who are treat their debilitating conditions, along with their primary care doctor.
STEP 2 – apply for a medical cannabis registry card.
Once you have your physician’s certification the next step is to apply for medical cannabis registry card. In addition to your physician’s certification, you’ll also need your current Illinois Driver’s License or state ID to complete the application. The application is available online on the Illinois Dept. of Public Health’s website – https://medicalcannabispatients.illinois.gov
Need help completing your application for a medical cannabis registry card?
Free help is available through Illinois local health departments —>
STEP 3 – buy medical marijuana from a medical marijuana dispensary.
While registering online with the Dept. of Public Health, you’ll select a medical cannabis dispensary to purchase medical cannabis from.
As a registered qualified patient you may only purchase up to 2.5 ounces of medical cannabis during a 14-day period.
Now you can request more than this standard amount. You’ll just have to submit a signed, written statement asserting that in your physician’s professional judgement, 2.5 ounces is an insufficient & inadequate supply to properly alleviate your debilitating medical condition or symptoms. The Department of Public Health then has to approve the waiver.
The cost of the medical cannabis is not covered by health insurance in Illinois.
Know that the laws on medical marijuana are constantly changing. So, please check the Illinois Department of Public Health Marijuana Program website for updates. I’ve included a link to the website below.