How to Get a Medical Marijuana Card In Illinois

The Complete Guide
MarijuanaBreak Staff / Updated on September 3, 2018


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 actually been able to start buying weed. Applications for state-registered growers and sellers didn’t start until late 2014, and it usually takes between one and three years for them to get up to a full-scale pace.

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

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 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, Illinois has also introduced House Bill 2353 and Senate Bill 316, which would potentially allow for recreational legalization of pot within the state. If passed, (voting is expected to take place in 2018), adults over the age of 21 would be allowed to purchase up to 1 oz of cannabis (½ oz for non-residents) in state-licensed dispensaries, and also possess and grow up to five plants within their private residence.

Until the bills are approved, though, 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 a full list of conditions).

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 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 initial diagnosis/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?


  • 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 [email protected]

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.

  • Agitation of Alzheimer’s disease
  • 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 [email protected]

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?


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.

Should you have any other questions, feel free to contact us through our Facebook Page.

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How to Get a Medical Marijuana Card In Illinois
September 3, 2018
4.8 41
  1. Mick

    To all,
    I went to clinic paid the money and had them do all the footwork. Got my card in 6 weeks.

  2. T smith

    Submitted my application through a medical marijuana coalition March 10th 2018. Received a letter from IDPH June 2nd. The coalition mailed them a black and white copy of my ID. They asked for me to email or mail them a colored copy. I emailed and mailed them a color copy same day June 2nd. St I’ll havent heard anything…..I’m guessing if I was denied I would know by now?

    1. Adam

      It takes time. Can take a few months.

    2. Deb

      Mine was sent in the end of April and I am still waiting. I haven’t heard anything.

  3. Barbara Hawkins

    Recently moved to Illinois, can I get my marijuana card?

  4. MSPatient

    I just submitted mine. Is the entire process now available online? They charged my credit card and everything. I just uploaded all the required documents and at no point did it say to mail anything..,,

  5. Allen Ronaldson

    When did you apply?
    What doc did you go to?
    Are all of the doctors charging the same for an intake?
    Are all of the dispensaries in collusion as far as pricing?


  6. Sara Fowler

    Followed the process, applying now

  7. ron youngblood

    Its a shame that it should take this long to obtain a card , I will wait if I am still alive for next year when recreational usage will be legalized.

  8. Amy Sparks

    A highly recommended card for the Illinois residents. I got one!

  9. Nick

    Why isn’t anxiety listed for one of the conditions to obtain a medical marijuana card? I’d rather smoke, then pop pills that are slowly killing and not helping me😪

  10. Emily Nelson

    Very simple process and well explained.

  11. Wanda Meyer

    Never thought that I could get a medical card in Illionis so easily. Thanks for this information.

  12. Alma Franco

    Thanks for giving such a brilliant idea of how to get a medical card in Illinois.

  13. Michael K

    I have a medical diagnosis of PTSD from VA but it was from a few years ago. I have lived in WA for the past few years and did not need medical card. Will I need to go to a doctor again or will my VA diagnosis feel that role?

  14. Traci Hearty

    It is very difficult to contact Illinois. The phone number you have listed won’t get you through to an actual person to find out when your card will be processed. You are encouraged to use their email. I have contacted them through email multiple times and get a generic “due to high volumes. . .”

    Who can we call to find out when our applications are processed? Is anyone aware of who is in charge of this program? This is so frustrating!!!

    1. Adam

      Sorry, that is the most up to date number we have. You simply need to bug them

  15. Debra Tomlinson

    Getting a Medical card with so many health benefits is not an easy task in Illinois. This article helped me a lot.

  16. harryy1469

    I applied Oct 10th and still have not heard anything. I sent an email about a status update and no reply still a week later.

    1. Adam

      Have you tried calling them?

    2. Laura

      Have you received your card yet? I applied October 19th and still no card letter.

  17. Melissa

    I sent my paperwork off in mid November, and I still have not heard anything from Illinois.. I’ve also called the bank a few times to check and see if the money was cashed, so far it has not been…I’m wondering, how long should I wait before stopping payment on the money order??

    1. Adam

      That is a tough one. Remember you are dealing with state office, so it could take some time. Also December was packed with holidays. The process does take a while. I think if you don’t here anything back within 90 days of submission, you are best to contact them.

  18. Denise Vallejo

    Getting a medical card in illinois is very difficult. Thanks for the info

  19. Linda Chavez

    I was in desperate need for a medical card.Thanks for describing the exact process.

  20. Margaret Rothrock

    Marijuana card is important for me as I have to take my kid for seizures treatment so with the card, I get the medicine easily

  21. Edna Cuevas

    My hands are injured so I cannot give fingerprint test. What should I do now? Please assist

  22. Elizabeth Collins

    I submitted my application to extend it on the 90th day, will it be valid or do I have to submit a new application to get marijuana card?

    1. Adam

      You will have to contact them for that. Only they will know. Sorry

  23. Ludie Gray

    I am a nonresident and under 21 but happy that I can take up to half an ounce of marijuana.

  24. Alma

    Ahhh, my application got delayed due to bad doctor’s handwriting. Please guys, make sure your doctor writes well to get medical cards on time. Thanks by the way for this post.

    1. Catherine Woody

      My application got delayed, don’t know why. What could be the possible reason?

  25. Canna Connoisseur

    I have submitted my application in early August as well..still no response from the State 🙁

    I have also heard that the State is only able to submit and process 1000 new applications a month, so if you were at the end of a month when you sent in the application, it may have been put on a backlist and maybe processed the following month.
    *Source* Dispensary Agent

    1. SouthernSmoke

      Just curious are u still waiting? i submitted my paperwork first week of Sept. and were in mid Nov. now and still no word. thanks in advance if u could reply.

    2. Jw

      Just wondering….have you gotten your card yet?

    3. Bob

      I just completed my application form and sent it off in the mail. This sounds like a good program. I hope to hear from the state in 2 or 3 months. I am glad the state offers help for people that are in allot of pain.

  26. Waiting and waiting

    An application for my husband was submitted in early August and we have not heard a word either way. Also, they will not answer the phone or return a status on your email request because they are ‘to busy’ processing applications. Just a fair warning if you actually try emailing for calling the state.

    1. Adam

      Hi, Thanks for the update. It’s important that our readers are aware of what is going on in Illinois.

  27. Kristin

    I got a letter that my picture was too dark, so I got a new picture, sent it via email, how much longer will it take?

    1. Kristin

      I’m in IL

  28. Sally

    Very informative and educational post. It’s hard to find this information on the web.

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