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Understanding the Illinois Medical Cannabis Program

The Medical Cannabis Registry Program, established in August 2013, is an Illinois program that helps patients gain access to medical cannabis—as long as they qualify based on their medical conditions. The Illinois Department of Public Health manages the registry, reviews applications, and issues medical registry cards to Illinois patients. 

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Become a Medical Cannabis Patient in Illinois

While recreational marijuana in Illinois is legal, many patients choose to carry a medical cannabis card for the treatment of qualifying medical conditions they experience. In most cases, the process to get a medical marijuana card involves a few steps, including certification by a healthcare professional and approval by the state. 

Qualifications for Illinois Medical Cannabis

To qualify for medical marijuana in Illinois, you must have one of the Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Pilot Program Act’s established debilitating conditions. As the program grows and changes, it’s possible additional conditions could be added to the list. If you want Illinois to recognize a condition that isn’t on the list, you can fill out their Petition to Add Debilitating Conditions form and submit it to the Department of Public Health. 

Get a Medical Cannabis Card in Illinois

Once you’ve established that you have one of the listed conditions, you’ll need a health care professional’s certificate. For a breakdown of the steps you’ll need to take to apply for your Illinois medical marijuana card, check out our Get a Card guide.


Become a Medical Cannabis Caregiver

In Illinois, certain people can qualify as a cannabis caregiver. This person is designated by the patient to purchase, grow, and dispense medical marijuana to the patient. A patient can have a caregiver for a variety of reasons, including being a minor or unable to travel to a dispensary. The Department of Health has a variety of resources available if you want to become a caregiver.


Medical Cannabis for Minors

Illinois allows medical cannabis for minors who qualify, although guidelines are more strict for these patients. In addition to several practitioner certifications, minors must have a certified caregiver who is also registered with the state.


Medical Cannabis for Veterans

Veterans who are under the care of the VA are not required to obtain a written certification for medical cannabis from a healthcare provider. Instead, they must provide 12 months of medical history from the VA facility. If a veteran isn’t receiving care from the VA, they will need to go through the same certification process as other medical patients.


Medical Cannabis for Terminal Illness

Patients who have been diagnosed with a terminal illness and have a 6-month life expectancy can apply for an expedited medical cannabis card.

Terminal Illness

FAQs About Medical Cannabis in Illinois

Because of the nuances of the Illinois medical marijuana program, we see a variety of  frequently asked questions. To make it easier to obtain the information you need, we compiled and answered these questions here:

Yes, medical marijuana is legal in Illinois to qualifying patients and their registered caregivers. Illinois legalized medical cannabis in 2014, becoming the 20th state to do so.

If you have a valid Illinois medical cannabis card, you are able to visit any medical dispensary in the state. Please note, not all dispensaries serve medical patients. You will still be able to make marijuana purchases at recreational dispensaries, but you may need to pay a higher sales tax.

If you are looking for a medical dispensary in Illinois, you can visit Verilife’s Arlington Heights, Romeoville, North Aurora, or Ottawa locations.

Costs associated with medical cannabis in Illinois are typically lower than recreational cannabis. This is largely due to sales tax, as Illinois charges a 1% sales tax on all medical marijuana purchases. Recreational cannabis customers can pay up to 30% in taxes, depending on the product type.

Qualifying patients with medical marijuana cards are not prescribed specific medical marijuana products. Rather, they receive a certification to purchase any type of medical marijuana to help with their condition, up to a recommended limit. 

Please note that medical marijuana patients should consult their healthcare provider to determine the best course of treatment.

No, Illinois does not have a medical marijuana reciprocity program. That means the state does not accept medical marijuana cards issued by other states.

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Purchasing Medical Marijuana in Illinois

Medical marijuana consumption, with the care of their qualified healthcare provider, is an important way some people manage their debilitating conditions. If you have questions, don’t be afraid to speak to one of our budtenders. They’re available to help you get the answers and products you need. Find a Verilife dispensary near you.

This website contains cannabis information and is restricted to individuals 21 years of age or older. Please confirm your age:

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