How to Get an Illinois Medical Marijuana Card

The Complete Guide
MarijuanaBreak Staff MarijuanaBreak Staff / Updated on June 12, 2019

How to Get a Medical Marijuana Card In Illinois

Even though medical cannabis was passed by the state of Illinois back in 2013, it’s only been somewhat recently that registered patients have been able to start buying legal cannabis products. Applications for state-registered growers and sellers didn’t start until late 2014, and it usually takes between one and three years for everything to get up to a full-scale pace.

However, now that things are moving steadily, more and more medically-eligible patients are wondering how to get a medical marijuana card in Illinois. In this short guide, we’re going to tell you everything you need to know.


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As a Resident of Illinois, What is the process?

In addition to legalizing marijuana for medically-registered patients, Illinois also decriminalized pot back in 2016 for all individuals. Instead of potentially getting charged with a misdemeanor crime for the possession of marijuana, now all people get is a $200 fine — as long as they’re carrying 10 grams or less. (Keep in mind though that weed is still illegal in all amounts on a federal level).

Additionally, incoming Illinois governor J.B. Pritzker has spoken openly about the possibility of legalizing marijuana recreationally in the state, in an effort to produce nearly $700 million in increased taxpayer revenue.

Until this happens, only those that suffer from specific medical conditions can purchase medical cannabis with the help of a medical marijuana card. Here’s how to get medical marijuana in Illinois.

The steps to obtain an MMJ Card are as follows:

Step 1

The first step in obtaining a medical marijuana card in Illinois is to meet with a physician to discuss the possibility of using cannabis under one of the state’s qualified medical conditions (see below for the full list).

medical marijuana illinois

Once a physician deems that medical marijuana is a viable treatment option, he or she will need to fill out a Physician Written Certification Form on your behalf, and mail it from their office to the Department’s Division of Medical Cannabis:

Illinois Department of Public Health
Division of Medical Cannabis
535 W. Jefferson Street
Springfield, IL 62761

*(In-person applications will not be accepted at the above address).

The recommending physician will then need to provide documentation on the Certification Form that states the patient has been diagnosed with either a terminal illness, or one of the qualifying debilitating medical conditions (listed below).

Also, it is important to understand that the certification must be received within 90 days of the application, and must show an in-person visit date within the last 90 days.

(Please note that the state of Illinois does not provide a list of marijuana-recommending physicians. Also, consultation fees for the initial diagnosis and medical marijuana recommendation may vary).

Step 2

Once the Written Certification Form is completed and mailed by the recommending physician, individuals will need to print and fill out the Marijuana Card Application Form.

On the form, applicants must list their recommending physician’s name and address (i.e. the address of the physician who submitted the Certification Form), and also choose a medical marijuana dispensary where they’ll purchasing their cannabis products (a list of state-licensed dispensaries can be found here).

In addition to the completed application form, applicants will need to submit the following documents:

  • Non-refundable application fee payable by check or Money Order and made out to the Illinois Department of Public Health (see below for list of fees)
  • 2” x 2” photograph taken in the last 30 days (taken against a plain, white or off-white background in natural color, with full-face view directly facing the camera and a neutral facial expression with both eyes open (it’s recommended you use a passport photo vendor to ensure the photograph meets these requirements)
  • A completed copy of the Fingerprint Consent Form (fingerprints must be taken within 30 days of submitting an application), with the following supporting documents attached:
    • Proof of age and identity (a color photocopy of either an Illinois Driver’s License, Illinois State ID, or the photograph page of a US passport
    • Proof of Illinois residency (see list of required documents for options on how to prove residency)
    • Fingerprint receipt (A list of fingerprinting vendors can be found here – contact them beforehand to make sure they do Medical Cannabis fingerprinting. Also, remember to bring the Fingerprint Consent Form to your fingerprinting appointment – you will need to add the Transaction Control Number (TCN) to the form
    • Benefit Verification Letter from the Social Security Administration or DD-214 (*only if applicable – this is for applicants who are applying with reduced application fees)

Once all of the above documents are gathered and completed, applicants will need to mail them in an envelope along with the completed application form to:

Illinois Department of Public Health
Division of Medical Cannabis
535 West Jefferson Street
Springfield, Illinois 62761-0001

Are There Any Other Requirements on How to Get a Medical Marijuana Card in Illinois?

Yes.

  • Applicants must not have been convicted of a prior excluded offense (this shows up on the fingerprinting scan). Offences include a felony under the Illinois Controlled Substances Act, Cannabis Control Act, or Methamphetamine Control and Community Protection Act
  • Applicants must be at least 18 years of age
  • Applicants must not hold a school bus permit or Commercial Driver’s License
  • Applicants must not be an active duty law enforcement officer, correctional officer, correctional probation officer, or firefighter.

If you have any further questions, you can contact the Illinois Department of Health Medical Marijuana Program representatives directly at 1-855-636-3688. Also please note that applications cannot be submitted online.

How Much Does it Cost to Get a Medical Marijuana Card in Illinois?

When submitting the application, qualifying patients (or their caregivers) may apply for either a one, two, or three-year registry ID card. Application fees are as follows:

  • $100 for a 1-year ID card
  • $200 for a $2-year ID card
  • $250 for a $3-year ID card

Applicants who receive Social Security Disability Income (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) may qualify for a reduced fee application, in which case the fees are:

  • $50 for a 1-year ID card
  • $100 for a 2-year ID card
  • $125 for a 3-year ID card

*(If you are enrolled in SSDI or SSI, you will need to submit a “Benefit Verification Letter” from the Social Security Administration along with your application that shows your name and address, and the type of benefits that you receive).

Also, please note that neither health insurance, Medicaid or Medicare will cover costs associated with the application for the use of medical cannabis.

For caregivers, the application fees are as follows:

  • $25 for a 1-year ID card
  • $25 for a 1-year ID card
  • $50 for a 2-year ID card
  • $75 (Caregiver applying separately for a patient who has already been registered – the expiration date for the caregiver and the patient card will be the same)

*Persons that are diagnosed with a terminal illness with a life expectancy of six (6) months or less may apply for a medical cannabis registry identification card valid for six months. There is no application fee.

*Also please note the application process for Veterans is different than the process for regular Illinois citizens. Veterans who receive health services at a Veteran’s Administration (VA) facility are NOT required to obtain a physician’s written certification. Rather, they must submit 12 months of VA records to the Department of Public Health (Division of Medical Cannabis) with their application. Click here for the process of applying for medical marijuana in Illinois as a veteran.

*The process of applying for medical marijuana in Illinois as a minor (under the age of 18) is also different – please check here for guidelines.

Related Article: 3 Ways to Get a Medical Marijuana Card Online (in Minutes)

How Long Will It take to Receive My Medical Marijuana Card?

The Illinois Department of Public Health does not respond to inquiries about the status of applications for medical marijuana. All applications are reviewed based on the date received – if additional documents are needed, you’ll receive a letter from the program asking for more information, along with instructions on how to submit them.

That being said, Illinois is notorious for having one of the more difficult medical marijuana programs, and users have commented that the office is difficult to get ahold of.

One of our readers, for example, commented that the Department of Public Health only processes 1,000 new applications a month – if you applied at the end of the month, your application may have been put on backlist for processing the following month.

Illinois Division of Medical Marijuana Program representatives are available by phone at
1-855-636-3688, and can also be reached via e-mail at DPH.medicalcannabis@illinois.gov.

What are the Conditions Required to receive a Medical Marijuana Card?

Qualifying patients must be diagnosed with a debilitating condition, as defined in the Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Pilot Program Act, to be eligible for a medical cannabis registry identification card in Illinois.

illinois medical marijuana

  • Agitation of Alzheimer’s disease
  • HIV/AIDS
  • Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS)
  • Arnold-Chiari malformation
  • Cancer
  • Causalgia
  • Chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyneuropathy
  • Crohn’s disease
  • CRPS (complex regional pain syndrome Type II)
  • Dystonia
  • Fibrous Dysplasia
  • Glaucoma
  • Hepatitis C
  • Hydrocephalus
  • Hydromyelia
  • Interstitial cystitis
  • Lupus
  • Multiple Sclerosis
  • Muscular Dystrophy
  • Myasthenia Gravis
  • Myoclonus
  • Nail-patella syndrome
  • Neurofibromatosis
  • 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 is damage to the nervous tissue of the spinal cord with objective neurological indication of intractable spasticity
  • Spinocerebellar ataxia
  • Syringomyelia
  • Tarlov cysts
  • Tourette syndrome
  • Traumatic brain injury
  • Cachexia/wasting syndrome

*Note that individuals who wish to apply for a medical marijuana card in Illinois, but DO NOT have one of the above qualifying conditions, may fill out and submit a Petition to Add Debilitating Condition form.

What is the status of my application?

To find out the status of your request, you may email IDPH at DPH.medicalcannabis@illinois.gov

How Do I Get a Renewal?

You will receive a letter from the Department of Health 60–90 days prior to the expiration of your current medical marijuana card, with options for renewal. If your card expires and you have not extended it, you will be required to go through the new application process.

Check the state’s full list of renewal guidelines here.

I’m From Out of State, How to I Buy Medical Marijuana?

Out of state medical marijuana patients will not be able to purchase cannabis in Illinois dispensaries, even if they have a current/valid registration card from their home state. Only medical patients with a valid Illinois MMJ ID card are eligible to purchase weed from a state licensed dispensary.

How much Medical Marijuana Can I purchase?

There are currently no posted guidelines from the Illinois Department of Public Health with regard to how much cannabis a registered cardholder can purchase or possess at any one time. We recommend getting in touch with a local dispensary, or giving program representatives a call at 1-855-636-3688. We have heard, however, that the office is difficult to get ahold of.

Can I Take My Meds to a Different State?

No

Medical marijuana patients may face federal and local charges of transporting marijuana if they cross state lines with the drug. This is true even if the states between which they are traveling allow medical marijuana. Should you need to travel with your marijuana it would be best to contact the state’s Bureau of health to understand the exact laws of the state you are traveling to in order to not risk breaking the law.

Related Article: How to Get Your Medical Marijuana Card By State

Who Can Use Medical Marijuana?

Patients must be at least 18 years of age.

Can I use Medical Marijuana Anywhere?

It is important to remember marijuana consumption is illegal on a Federal Level. It is advised to consume your medicine responsibly according to the laws of the state.

How Much Should I Consume?

We are not doctors or physicians, and therefore you should always consult with a professional before using.

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65 comments
  1. Clayton K
    Thank You

    This is one of the best written articles I’ve read in a long time. Makes the process much more understandable. Also thank you MB for all the assistance. I finally got my card.

  2. Randy M
    Excellent information

    Very well written and organized.

  3. Albert Vince
    In case you need help

    By meeting the criteria required by medical corporation, you can get your approved medical marijuana card in Illinois. All you have to do is to fill up application form and get yourself with doctor’s consultation and diagnosis, which is also necessary under government policies before marijuana card approval.

  4. Rosemary Johnson
    I applied the middle of DEC does any one know how long it takes to get a card in Illinois?

    It is taking a long time to get a card.

  5. RJ
    Takes a long time!

    My application was submitted online November 20, 2018. I received my approval letter a week ago. My husband’s also took about 90 days to receive his approval letter. The letter states they are running behind on printing the actual licence & it will be mailed later. He received his letter January 10th & is still waiting for the hard copy.

    1. Ann
      DISAPPOINTED

      ‘m disappointed to hear how long it takes – my husband applied this week and he’s telling me he’ll get the card within a couple weeks – he will be quite upset when I tell me. And furthermore, besides the fee for the card, it cost him $300.00 just for the screening process!

  6. Jessica Boldrey
    Where do I start?

    I have no clue who to see in Springfield Illinois to try to get started on getting a card

    1. HollyM
      Jessica Boldrey

      Jessica Boldrey- I’m having the same problem. Were you able to find a physician in Springfield, Illinois?

  7. Potheadfocker
    Wait times?

    Anyone know how long the wait time has been lately. I applied Nov. 3rd and haven’t heard anything yet.

    1. R3
      No Response

      Submitted application on Nov 7. Check not cashed yet. Unable to contact anyone at IDPH for status and no email reply

    2. Brian S
      Any day now

      I applied November 13th and the check I sent to the state got cashed today…..im hoping this means I will have a card soon….

      1. Shirley Sartori
        It takes time

        Don’t be so sure, it took me two months to have my card in Illinois after my cheque got cashed by the state.

    3. Brian
      Any day now

      I applied November 13th and the check I sent to the state got cashed today…..im hoping this means I will have a card soon….

    4. Jen
      Wait time

      Spoke to a patient advocate at a cancer center today. She says it’s about a 4 month wait for a card right now.

  8. M. Winstead
    Being stripped of privileges

    So now in the GREAT STATE OF ILLINOIS they are finally aying that the opioid exchange pilot program will be in effect by the end of January.

    However I find myself in a delima because if I do chose to try medical marijauna,
    1. I will lose the privilege to purchase a firearm from a dealer.
    2. I will have to surrender my cdl.

    Now granted I aree that under no circumstances should a person have the ability to become impaired and climb up into a commercial vehicle weighing 80,000 lbs and head off down the road.
    I also disagree because this is medicine that I am not sure will work for me. I have both a monetary and a timely investment wrapped up in obtaining my cdl and FOR ANY AGENCY to have the right to make me chose between medicine and my health or my commercial license in order to eatn a living is ludicrous.

    I would never even think of driving under the influence of ANYTHING. I am just sick and would like an oppurtunity to try a different way of treating my illness right now, and if I feel better later in life and have the opportunity to return to the workforce I shouldn’t have to pay what I paid and train for what I already know in order to do so.

    Not to mention a reinstatement fee that I will be charged by the STATE.

    Then there is the gun issue……this is just another way to infringe upon my 2nd ammendment rights as a citizen.

    Thanks for reading.

  9. Karen Giner
    The waiting time scares me

    I know the new governor wants to legalize recreational marijuana but I currently have an appointment with a dr to get my card. It cost 200 for the dr and all of these stories of how long it takes to get the card worries me that it could be totally legal before I get my card. Maybe just a trip to Michigan is in order lol

  10. Mike Winstead
    Illinois opioid echange NOT GOING TO BE IN EFFECT DECEMBER 1!!!

    Just had a phone conversation with IDPA, much as I and probably several of you figured, the opioid exchange is NOT going to happen by December 1, 2018. Best the person would say was the beginning of 2019……notice i didnt say January…..i said the “beginning”. I would like to take the time to thank the beauracrats who love slowing processes of any kind in Illinois down while people suffer!!!!!!

  11. Tracey C
    Thank you for the assistance

    I would like to thank all the team at MB. Couldn’t have done it without you.

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