6 Steps to becoming a medical cannabis patient in Illinois
The state of Illinois approved the Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Pilot Program Act on August 1st, 2013. This act was subsequently amended on January 1st, 2015 to include patients under the age of 18 and to include seizure disorders on the list of debilitating conditions. As of June 30th, 2017, there are approximately 21,800 patients who have qualified for medical cannabis. The Illinois Medical Cannabis program has extensive requirements, so it is paramount that patients understand the process laid out in this article. Below are the steps to verify eligibility and subsequently apply to the program.
Step 1. Do I qualify for medical cannabis in Illinois?
The list of debilitating conditions that qualify patients for medical cannabis in Illinois are the following as of October 17th, 2017:
- Agitation of Alzheimer’s disease
- Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS)
- Arnold-Chiari malformation
- Chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyneuropathy
- Crohn’s disease
- CRPS (complex regional pain syndrome Type II)
- Fibrous Dysplasia
- Hepatitis C
- Interstitial cystitis
- Multiple Sclerosis
- Muscular Dystrophy
- Myasthenia Gravis
- Nail-patella syndrome
- Parkinson’s disease
- Post-Concussion Syndrome
- Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
- Reflex sympathetic dystrophy
- Residual limb pain
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Seizures (including those characteristics 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
- Tarlov cysts
- Tourette syndrome
- Traumatic brain injury
- Cachexia/wasting syndrome
Check to see if any new conditions have been added since this posting at the Illinois Department of Health state website below:
You must have one or more of these qualifying conditions to qualify for the Illinois medical marijuana program and move on to the next step.
Step 2. How do I apply?
If you are terminally ill or a Veteran receiving a medical cannabis recommendation from the VA, your process is different and will be explained in a section further below.
Other patients with one or more of the above debilitating conditions should first approach their physician regarding if medical cannabis is right for them. A critically important detail to mention to your physician is that they are attesting to your condition and that they are NOT prescribing you medical cannabis. This is important because it takes the liability off of them as doctors because the medical cannabis act is always a passed law in Illinois for the above conditions.
Next, you can either apply online through the website below:
Or you can print out the following application and send it into the state:
Ensure a smooth process and approval, you must supply the following materials, which can be found on the application form above:
- Photograph of the patient taken within the last 30 days; the recommendation is a passport photo
- Clear, color copy of Illinois Driver’s License, State ID, or photograph page of passport
- Proof of Residency—there are many options available to prove this. Please check the last page of the application from the link above to see what qualifies.
- Fingerprint Receipt: bring the fingerprint consent form to one of the approved vendors, (found through the link below). Contact the vendor before getting scanned to ensure they take Medical Cannabis fingerprints.
- You must submit both the consent form with TCN filled in and fingerprinting receipt with your application.
- Benefit Verification letter from the Social Security Administration or DD-214 (if applicable)
Once all these documents are gathered, apply via one of the methods listed above.
If the patient is under the age of 18, at least one caregiver must apply with the patient. Additionally, they must apply via a different application and have special requirements that must be met.
Here you can find the application for those under the age of 18:
Additionally, you must receive 2 physician certifications; a recommending physician and a reviewing physician certification if you are under the age of 18. One caregiver may be applied to the minor patient’s application free of charge. Find the caregiver application here:
Step 3. Will my doctor be involved in this process?
Absolutely! Not only should patients’ doctors be involved in deciding if medical cannabis will be beneficial, but they must also fill out the Physician Written Certification Form, which can be found here:
Note: This document must be submitting by the physician—it is not to be submitted by the patient.
Step 4. Find a Licensed Dispensary near you.
Illinois has licensed dispensaries throughout the state. Find a dispensary near you here:
Step 5. Determine which products are best for you.
There are several resources patients may use to help determine which strains or products may be best for their unique condition(s). A commonly used online resource is www.Leafly.com; however, one of the best sources of cannabis product information is the budtenders at the dispensaries themselves.
Step 6. Know your limits
Patients may acquire up to 2.5 ounces of usable cannabis products within a 14-day period. If a patient does not feel this is sufficient, their physician may petition the Department of Public Health to raise a patient’s limits. The pre-mixed weight of medical cannabis in infused products counts towards this limit.
Patients who are terminally ill must fill out the following application:
Find the requirements for a terminally ill patient’s application here:
Veterans being treated through the VA:
Complete the same application as stated in step 2; however, a physician’s certification is not necessary. Rather, veterans must supply the most recent 12 months of records from the VA with their application. Veterans may receive their VA records through the following manners:
VA Form 10-5345
Please refer to the Veterans section at the following website for further details:
Steps 4-6 still apply to both terminally ill patients and veterans
For more information on medical marijuana, please visit this link:
Click the links below to find out how to get medical marijuana cards in each respective state:
To find out more about medical cannabis and how you can get treatment, contact us today.