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How to Get Medical Marijuana Card In Illinois 2023

Dr Abraham Benavides


Dr Abraham Benavides

Medical Doctor

In the market for a Medical Marijuana Card in Illinois? This article is for you!

We created this helpful guide to assist you in becoming a MMJ patient. Here you’ll find all the crucial information you need to know.

Keep reading to find out about Illinois’ Medical Marijuana Program and how to get your own medical cannabis card.

Illinois Medical Card

Illinois Medical Marijuana Program

On August 1 2013, Illinois approved medical marijuana use and cultivation via the Compassionate Use of IL Medical Cannabis Program Act.

With the passing of this Act, Illinois decriminalized the use, cultivation and recommendation of cannabis for medicinal purposes. It effectively removed criminal penalties for qualifying individuals and their physicians regarding cannabis possession and recommendation.

The Illinois state run Medical Cannabis Patient Program (MCPP) allows patients with qualifying health conditions access to medical cannabis.

Qualifying patients are eligible to apply for a registry identification card with the Illinois Department of Public Health.

What can you buy as an MMJ patient in Illinois?

Individuals with a valid MMJ card can possess a total of 2.5 ounces of cannabis in a 14 day period. However, qualifying patients can request a waiver to permit a larger possession amount.

In total, Illinois cannabis patients can possess:

  • 2.5 ounces of marijuana flower* (*those who apply for a waiver are allowed more)
  • 500mg of infused products (such as edibles, capsules, tinctures and topicals)
    5 grams of concentrates (wax, shatter, etc)
  • 5 marijuana plants

What are the possession limits for recreational consumers?

Recreational consumers are allowed to possess:

  • 30 grams of cannabis flower for residents
  • 15 grams of cannabis flower for non-residents
  • 500 mg of cannabis concentrates (edibles, extract, tinctures, topicals) for residents
  • 250 mg of cannabis concentrates for non-residents
Illinois map

Illinois Medical Card Requirements

In order to qualify for a Medical Marijuana card in Illinois, you need to be a legal resident of Illinois. Individuals must be 18 years of age or older.

Minors, or those under the age of 18, may apply for a medical cannabis card if they have a caregiver over the age of 21. 

Patients under 18 are not allowed to buy or cultivate marijuana but can have designated caregivers to get it for them.

In a nutshell, to qualify for a MMJ card you must:

  • Be a legal resident of IL and submit proof of residency
  • Be over the age of 18
  • Submit proof of age (must be a government issued document)
  • Have at least one of the qualifying medical conditions
  • Have a signed certificate
  • Submit a recent passport photograph in jpeg format
  • Submit an online application for the MCPP
  • Pay the required state application fee (varies per 1, 2 or 3 years term card)
  • Provide identification of designated caregiver* (if applicable)

The following individuals are ineligible for a MMJ card:

  • Those who posses a commercial driver’s license or school bus permit
  • Active duty police officers, corrections officers, probation officers, or firefighters

Acceptable Forms of ID

  • Valid Illinois issued ID card
  • Valid Illinois issued Driver’s license
  • Valid passport

Note: Out of state ID cards and driver’s licenses do not qualify.

Acceptable Forms of Residency

  • Bank statements (dated less than 90 days from application date)
  • Credit card statements (dated less than 60 days)
  • Valid Voter registration card (with IL address)
  • Recent utility bills (from the last two months)
  • Rental agreement
  • Most recent W-2 form

Illinois MMJ Caregiver Requirements

To qualify as a caregiver, you must meet the following requirements:

  • Caregivers must be at least 21 years old
  • Caregivers cannot have been convicted to any violent felonies or drug related felonies
  • Caregivers must not have not been convicted for any crime in the past 10 years
  • Caregivers must be able to pass a background check

Medical Marijuana Qualifying Conditions in Illinois

Individuals have to be diagnosed with a debilitating condition by a licensed physician in order to qualify for a MMJ card.

Here are the qualifying conditions under the Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Program Act:

  • Autism
  • Alzheimer’s disease-related agitation
  • AIDS
  • Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS)
  • Anorexia nervosa
  • Arnold-Chiari malformation
  • Cancer
  • Cachexia or wasting syndrome
  • Causalgia
  • Chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyneuropathy (CIDP)
  • Chronic pain
  • Crohn’s disease
  • Complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS) Type II 
  • Dystonia
  • Ehlers-Danlos syndrome
  • Fibrous Dysplasia
  • Glaucoma
  • Hepatitis C
  • HIV
  • Hydrocephalus
  • Hydromyelia
  • Interstitial cystitis
  • Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
  • Lupus
  • Migraines
  • Multiple Sclerosis (MS)
  • Muscular Dystrophy
  • Myasthenia Gravis
  • Myoclonus
  • Nail-patella syndrome
  • Neuro-Bechet’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 Epilepsy)
  • Severe fibromyalgia
  • Sjogren’s syndrome
  • Spinal cord disease (such as arachnoiditis, etc.)
  • Spinal cord injury (damage to nervous tissue of the spinal cord with objective neurological indication of intractable spasticity)
  • Spinocerebellar ataxia
  • Superior canal dehiscence syndrome
  • Syringomyelia
  • Tarlov cysts
  • Terminal Illness
  • Tourette syndrome
  • Traumatic brain injury (TBI)
  • Ulcerative colitis (UC)

If you suffer from one or more of the debilitating conditions included on the IL list of approved conditions for medical cannabis, approval is usually swift and easy.

This list is up to date as of July 2022. Be sure to check with the IDPH (Illinois Department of Public Health) for the most up to date qualifying conditions.

Illinois flag

How to Get a Medical Card in Illinois 

All set to get your Illinois MMJ card?

First, you’ll have to visit (or consult online with) a licensed health care provider. This can be any board certified physician licensed to practice medicine in the state of Illinois.

The licensed physician will determine your eligibility. The provider should provide you with a certification, which is basically a medical marijuana recommendation, if you are suffering from at least one of the qualifying debilitating conditions.

This visit can be done online or in person. However, online is much cheaper and more convenient!

Most reputable telehealth or telemedicine services also have money back guarantees. So if you’re not approved, no sweat! It won’t cost you a dime. In person visits do not have money back guarantees.

Note, the MCPP considers Health care provider certifications to be valid for only 90 days from the date of issue.

To obtain your Illinois medical cannabis card, follow these three easy steps:

1. Certification From A Illinois Certified Healthcare Provider 

You must visit a health care provider, via telehealth or in person. A licensed physician, APRN-FPA, APN, or PA can certify patients and confirm their eligibility for medical marijuana. 

2. Receive Your IL Medical Certificate

Once approved for MMJ in Illinois you will be given a medical marijuana certificate that is issued by your healthcare provider.

3. Apply For Your Digital Medical Card With Illinois State

After receiving your medical certificate you will need to complete the state application for IL. 

The application must be submitted to the Medical Cannabis Patient Registry Program via the Illinois Department of Public Health website.

When you apply for a medical marijuana card online you’ll need to pay an application fee. It costs $50 for a 1 year card, $100 for a 2 year card, $125 for a 3 year card. This fee is in addition to your physician fees.

To complete your app, you will need a valid Illinois ID, proof of state residency and a signed certificate (given to you via your MMJ doctor online or offline).

After applying, you will receive a provisional approval 1-2 days. A digital medical marijuana card should be issued within 45 days. Simply print out the provisional approval and digital card when they come available.

If you need help completing the application, the Illinois Department of Public Health partners with local health departments to offer free assistance.

How To Get An Illinois Medical Marijuanas Card Online

Getting an Illinois medical marijuana card online is simple.

Instead of seeing a physician in person you consult with one online. Obtaining a medical marijuana card online will replace steps 1 and 2 of the process.

It only takes minutes to get an Illinois medical cannabis card recommendation online. Plus it’s valid for 1 year.

How Much Does A Illinois Medical Marijuana Card Cost Online?

The total cost of getting a MMJ card online depends on the telemedicine service you use.

We recommend checking out Leafwell and Veriheal for your medical marijuana certificate.

Both of these companies service Illinois and offer MMJ certificates to eligible individuals. With these telehealth services, you’ll have access to a licensed physician.

Illinois Medical Marijuana Card Online | Leafwell
  • Apply within 10 minutes!
  • Connect with a board certified physician
  • Your money back if you’re unsuccessful with your application
Our Rating:

What’s more, both Leafwell and Veriheal have a money back guarantee! If you’re not approved, it won’t cost you a thing.

If you are approved, both telemedicine services charge $199 for a certificate.

There is an additional fee for the Medical Cannabis Patient Registry Program (MCPP) application. You’ll save the most money by purchasing a 3 year registry card.

Is the Process for Renewing an Illinois Medical Marijuana Card any different?

The process for renewing a medical marijuana card in Illinois is similar to applying as a new patient.

You will need to submit a renewal or extension before your card expires. You should receive an email from the MCPP program when your card is up for renewal.

Just log into your account on the Illinois Cannabis Tracking System website and click on “pending renewal” link in the tracking inbox.

For the renewal application you will need:

  • A valid Illinois ID, Driver’s license or passport
  • Proof of residency
  • Signed certificate issued by a licensed physician
  • Application fee

The fees for a 1 year, 2 year and 3 year card remain the same.

Illinois Medical Marijuana Card Benefits

While recreational marijuana is legal in IL there are some clear benefits to having a medical marijuana card.

You Can Consume MMJ at 18

With an MMJ card, patients can legally consume cannabis at 18 instead of waiting until the age of 21.

Pay Lower Taxes

Being a medical marijuana patient also means you pay lower taxes. You can potentially save up to 30% with a card. In Illinois, cannabis products with higher THC have higher tax rates.

Every time you buy cannabis, you pay less than recreational payments. So having a medical card can result in exponential savings over time!

Increased Possession Limits

MMJ patients are permitted to possess over double the amount of marijuana than recreational consumers. For example, 2.5oz flower vs the 30g permitted for recreational use. 

Prioritized Access

Medical marijuana patients have access to a larger range of products. They also have priority when it comes to stock control.

Grow Your Own

Individuals with medical marijuana cards are also able to legally grow up to 5 plants per household. Recreational cannabis consumers cannot grow marijuana.

How to Apply for a MMJ Caregiver Card in Illinois

Patients and minors who cannot apply for a medical card by themselves can designate a caregiver to purchase medicinal marijuana on their behalf.

Overall, applying for a MMJ caregiver card is comparable to applying for a MMJ patient card.

Caregivers must be added to the patient’s MCPP application. Once added, they must fill out a MCPP caregiver application and pay the designated caregiver fee of $25, $50, or $75 for a 1 year, 2 year or 3 year registry card respectively.

To qualify as a caregiver, individuals must be over 21 years of age, an Illinois state resident and pass a criminal background check. 

In sum, to get a MMJ card, prospective caregivers will need to:

  • Have a valid ID
  • Submit proof of residency 
  • Submit a passport style photo
  • Be added to the patient’s application
  • Complete a caregiver application
  • Pay the caregiver fee

How Hard is it to Get a Medical Card in Illinois?

It’s easy! Getting an Illinois Medical Marijuana card is a straightforward process for new prospective patients over the age of 21.

To be eligible for the medical cannabis program, you must suffer from at least one of the qualifiable debilitating conditions listed by the state.

You must be a resident of Illinois and not have been convicted of any penalties.

If you meet these qualifications, you’ll need to get a signed certificate from a health care provider and pay the certificate and application fees.

Once approved for the Medical Cannabis Patient Registry Program, you’ll be able to purchase medical cannabis after you receive provisional approval within 1-2 days.

If you are denied, you can reapply and submit another application.

Can IL Medical Marijuana Patients Grow Weed?

Yes. Medical cannabis patients are permitted to grow their own plants. MMJ card holders can grow up to 5 marijuana plants per household.

Note: recreational cannabis users cannot legally grow weed. 

Related Read: Illinois Weed Grow Rules

Does IL Accept Out Of State MMJ Cards? 

No. Illinois does not accept out of state medical cards as they do not have medical marijuana reciprocity.

However, recreational marijuana is legal for adults over 21. So out-of-state medical cannabis patients who are 21 years of age and older can buy recreational cannabis instead.

For a list of states with medical marijuana reciprocity, check out our article detailing which states accept out of state MMJ cards.

Wrapping Up IL Medical Card 

For Illinois residents over 18, getting a medical marijuana card in Illinois is easy.

If you have a qualifying medical condition and have not been convicted of a felony, you’re already halfway there.

Caregivers can also obtain an Illinois medical marijuana card with ease. As long as you match the requirements we summarized above, you shouldn’t have an issue.

Illinois Medical Marijuana Card Online | Leafwell
  • Apply within 10 minutes!
  • Connect with a board certified physician
  • Your money back if you’re unsuccessful with your application
Our Rating:

For the most convenient option, you can get your medical card entirely online. Simply use a telehealth service and complete the online registry application. That’s it. 

Though being a medical patient is not a requirement in Illinois due to recreational weed, it definitely comes with major benefits.

From saving a bunch of cash to having better and more access to cannabis products, getting a medical marijuana card is worth it.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Qualifies You For a Medical Card in Illinois? 

To qualify for a MMJ card you must be over 18 (unless you have a designated caregiver), an Illinois resident and have an approved debilitating condition. 

Additionally, you must not have been convicted of a felony and cannot be an active duty police officer, corrections officer, probation officer, or firefighter.

How Long Does it Take to Get a Medical Marijuana Card in Illinois?

To get a medical marijuana card in Illinois you’ll need to get a signed certificate from a health care provider before submitting a registry application. 

This process can take a few minutes if you do it online. After you complete your state application, the MCPP will grant provisional approval within 1-2 days. A digital MMJ card will be available within 45 days.

How Long is a Medical Marijuana Card Valid for in Illinois? 

A MMJ card is valid for the length of the term purchased. Currently you can buy a 1 year, 2 year or 3 year MMJ card in Illinois. Patients with permanent conditions can submit a Lifelong renewal application for a $50 fee.

How Much is the Total Cost for Getting a MMJ Card in Illinois? 

The total cost is contingent on the type of card purchased:

  • 1 year MMJ card: $50 + certificate fee
  • 2 year MMJ card: $100 + certificate fee
  • 3 year MMJ card: $125 + certificate fee

Additional costs (optional):

  • Designated caregiver fee: $50

Are Individuals Under 18 Eligible for a Illinois Medical Marijuana Card? 

Yes, but those under 18 have additional requirements. Patients younger than 18 must have two certificates from two different health care providers. 

Minors must also have a designated caregiver and are allowed up to three. Designated caregivers must submit a Medical Cannabis Registry Card on the minor’s behalf. Caregivers may only buy medical cannabis-infused products. No other types of marijuana are permitted.

Do I Need to Submit Medical Records with my MCPP application?

Nope. Including personal medical records with your medical cannabis registry application is not necessary. 

You will however need to submit an acceptable form of ID, proof of residence, signed certificate and application fee.

Where can I consume cannabis in Illinois?

The safest place to consume cannabis, medical or recreational, is at home. However, landlords are allowed to ban cannabis use on their private properties.

Marijuana consumption is prohibited in many public spaces including:

  • Hospitals
  • Airports
  • Public places like parks, malls, streets
  • In motor vehicles
  • Government buildings
  • Buses, planes, trains
  • Private properties that prohibit marijuana use
  • Next to on-duty law enforcement officers, correction officers, firefighters and school bus drivers
  • Next to individuals under 21 years old (medical cannabis users are exempt)
  • Schools (students who are medical cannabis patients are exempt)

Are Medical Patients Still Required to Buy From a Single Dispensary In IL?

No. In July 2021 the governor of Illinois signed HB 1443 which eliminated the requirement for MMJ patients to choose a single dispensary. 

Currently, Illinois law permits patients with a valid medical marijuana card to purchase cannabis from any licensed medical dispensary.

Do Veterans Need to Have a Certificate to Apply for a Medical Card?

It depends. If you are a veteran that receives care from a VA hospital or clinic you can provide VA medical records in place of a certification from a licensed physician.

Check out the IDPH website for more information on how to access veteran health records.

How do Patients With a Terminal Illness Apply for a Cannabis Card in Illinois?

Patients who have been diagnosed with a terminal illness and expected to live 6 months or less can apply for a registry card. 

The medical cannabis card is valid for 6 months. There’s no application fee for individuals with a terminal illness. 

Patients can find out how to apply for the terminal illness application at the IDPH MCPP website.