How to Get A Medical Marijuana Card in Illinois Step by Step

Illinois patients diagnosed with qualifying medical conditions recognized by the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) as treatable with medical marijuana have been able to legally obtain medical marijuana since 2013 (when the state passed the Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Program Act).

The act outlined the state's Medical Cannabis Patient Program (MCPP) which outlines the process for applying for a medical card. That process can be confusing due to its numerous steps, but the Sanctuary is here to help.

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Step 1: Register With the MCPP and Identify Your Debilitating Condition

The process for getting a medical marijuana card in Illinois starts with creating an account and registering with the Illinois Cannabis Tracking System (ICTS). While doing so, be sure you select ”MCPP Patient Registration.”

To be eligible for a medical marijuana identification card in Illinois, qualifying patients must be diagnosed with at least one of the debilitating medical conditions on the state's list.

The state’s qualifying conditions include the following:

  • Autism
  • Agitation of Alzheimer’s disease
  • Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS)
  • Anorexia nervosa
  • Arnold-Chiari malformation
  • Cancer
  • Cachexia/wasting syndrome
  • Causalgia
  • Chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyneuropathy
  • Chronic pain
  • Crohn’s disease
  • CRPS (complex regional pain syndrome Type II)
  • Dystonia
  • Ehlers-Danlos syndrome
  • Fibrous Dysplasia
  • Glaucoma
  • Hepatitis C
  • Hydrocephalus
  • Hydromyelia
  • Interstitial cystitis
  • Irritable bowel syndrome
  • Lupus
  • Migraines
  • Multiple Sclerosis
  • Muscular Dystrophy
  • Myasthenia Gravis
  • Myoclonus
  • Nail-patella syndrome
  • Neuro-Behcet’s autoimmune disease
  • Neurofibromatosis
  • Neuropathy
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Polycystic kidney disease (PKD)
  • 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 causing damage to the nervous tissue of the spinal cord with objective neurological indication of intractable spasticity
  • Spinocerebellar ataxia
  • Superior canal dehiscence syndrome
  • Syringomyelia
  • Tarlov cysts
  • Terminal illness with a life expectancy of six months or less
  • Tourette syndrome
  • Traumatic brain injury
  • Ulcerative colitis

Even if you don’t see your condition(s) on the state's list, you might still be eligible for a medical card. If you'd like to try to add your condition to Illinois' list, IDPH has posted a petition for that purpose.

The next step is for you to locate and complete the MCPP application on IDPH's website. Click on this link to access the application .

Step 2: Meet with A Licensed Physician

Before you apply for a registry card, a healthcare professional licensed in the state of Illinois must certify your debilitating condition.

First, schedule an appointment with your primary care physician or the specialist who’s currently treating you. Since MCPP doesn't maintain a list of licensed medical marijuana doctors, you should discuss medical cannabis treatment with any physicians who you see regularly. You may schedule a telemedicine appointment if you’d prefer to conduct your consultation virtually.

Once you’ve scheduled the appointment, print out a blank copy of MCPP's certification form and take it with you so that your physician can sign it. If they sign the document, your healthcare provider will mail it to the MCPP.

Step 3: Compile the Necessary Paperwork

Once you’re certified, you can apply for a medical cannabis registry card. But first, you must gather the following documents:

  • A signed and completed application form
  • Proof of residency, identity, and the age of qualifying patient (such as with a driver’s license/state ID, bank statement, utility bill, and/or voter ID card)
  • Photo of the qualifying patient
  • Physician-written certification or appropriate documentation for veterans receiving medical care at a U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs facility, if applicable (your physician must mail in this form)
  • Designated caregiver application information, if applicable
  • Copy of the fingerprint consent form and the receipt provided by the livescan fingerprint vendor containing the Transaction Control Number (TCN)
  • Excluded offense waiver, if applicable
  • Selection of medical cannabis dispensary or zone
  • Application fee of $50 (if you’re a veteran or a recipient of Social Security Disability Income ((SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income ((SSI)), you may be eligible for a reduced fee)

If you’re mailing your application, it must be sent to this address:

Illinois Department of Public Health
Division of Medical Cannabis
535 West Jefferson St.
Springfield, IL 62761

Keep in mind that the government may request additional medical records to supplement your application materials.

Step 4: Submit Your IDPH Application

Once you collect the paperwork required for your application, you then must complete your Application for Registry Identification Card for Qualifying Patients on the MCPP's website. Instructions for completing and submitting this online application can be found here.

If you do not already have an account within the application portal, you will need to create one.

Step 5: Receive Your Medical Marijuana Card Via Email

After submitting your patient application, you’ll have to wait for the state to process and approve it. While the application process can take up to 30 days to complete, remember that its processing time can vary widely depending on the specifics of your application.

On June 22, 2021, the MCPP stopped mailing traditional plastic cards to both new and current patients. Illinois MMJ cards are now available to residents of Illinois in their medical cannabis accounts for downloading or printing.

After receiving your card, you will be able to purchase marijuana at any approved Illinois dispensary. Illinois medical marijuana cards are valid for one year, two years, or three years based on the option you select during the application process.

Need Help Obtaining a Illinois Medical Marijuana Card?

If you’d like some help with applying for your Illinois medical marijuana card, The Sanctuary Wellness Institute is here for you. We connect Illinois patients with qualifying conditions with licensed physicians authorized to certify potential medical marijuana patients.

Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you obtain an Illinois medical cannabis card.