Qualifying for a medical cannabis card in Illinois
Illinois residents have enjoyed access to recreational marijuana for several years now. But like many other states, medical cannabis has been legal for longer. The Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Pilot Program Act was enacted in 2013.
As of 2020, about 122,000 patients had been approved for medical cannabis throughout the duration of the program. Seeking relief from painful or uncomfortable symptoms? You might wonder whether you should join the list.
Let this article serve as your guide to Illinois’ medical cannabis program so that you can prepare before you take the next step!
Who qualifies for medical cannabis in Illinois?
To qualify for a Medical Cannabis Registry Card, you must be a resident of Illinois diagnosed with one or more of the state’s qualifying conditions (listed below). The following is required to apply for a card:
• State driver’s license or ID
• 2 x 2” color passport photo
• If necessary, identification of caregiver to assist with cannabis use
Minors (residents under 18 years old) seeking approval for medical cannabis must provide certification from two healthcare professionals. They must also choose a designated caregiver (up to three may be chosen).
If you’ve been diagnosed with a terminal illness with a life expectancy of six months or less, you may apply for a medical cannabis card valid for a six-month period. The application fee will be waived.
• You can’t apply if you’re a school bus driver or have a commercial driver’s license
As part of its Medical Cannabis Patient Program, Illinois also has a special program for residents who’ve been or could be prescribed opioids by a physician.
The Opioid Alternative Pilot Program was established in 2018 to reduce opioid deaths and offer an alternative treatment to this highly addictive substance. To qualify for the program, you must:
• Be a resident of Illinois who is at least 21 years old
• Have a licensed physician certify that you’ve been or could be prescribed an opioid
What are the benefits of getting a medical cannabis card?
Yes, recreational cannabis is legal in Illinois. But are you familiar with the benefits of getting a medical marijuana card? There are several advantages to becoming a patient, including:
1. Saving money
Cannabis is taxed at just 1% for patients, while adult use consumers can pay over 36% in taxes. Further, the cost of a card through Canna Care Docs is $189 (or $139 for a renewal). But if you decide to go the recreational route, you could easily end up spending over $500 in taxes annually.
• 500 mg of THC in cannabis-infused products, including edibles
Possession limits are higher on the medical side. Patients can buy 2.5 ounces of cannabis every two weeks.
3. Home grow
Another perk to medical cannabis: only patients are allowed to grow cannabis at home, with a limit of up to five plants.
4. Service and care
As a medical patient, you receive an elevated level of service and care compared to recreational users. First, you can receive assistance from a registered designated caregiver of your choice. You’re also provided access to the following:
• Deals/discounts that include veteran and hardship discounts
• Consultation with staff who have worked with the product from seed to sale
• Delivery services and curbside pickup
• Zero wait times guaranteed during dispensary visits
How can I get a medical cannabis card in Illinois?