Becoming a Patient in Illinois

To obtain a Registry ID Card, a patient must meet the following requirements:

  1. Be a resident of the State of Illinois
  2. Have a debilitating medical condition.
  3. Have a physician complete and submit a certification of the patient's debilitating medical condition (except for veterans receiving care at a VA facility);
  4. Complete the fingerprint-based background check and not have been convicted of certain excluded offenses (primarily violent felonies and felony drug convictions that were not for the medical use of cannabis);
  5. Be at least 18 years of age (special conditions apply to minors, see below);
  6. Not hold a school bus permit or Commercial Driver's License; and
  7. Not be an active duty law enforcement officer, correctional officer, correctional probation officer, or firefighter.

Patients may apply for a Registry ID Card online through Illinois' Medical Cannabis Program's online application portal. Registry ID Cards are good for 3 years at which point they must be renewed. The application fee is $300, or $150 for patients receiving SSI or SSDI benefits. The applicant must also provide a 2"x2" photograph, proof of age and identity, proof of residency, and a receipt from their fingerprint vendor. The DPH may take up to 30 days to decide whether to approve a patient's application and must provide a Registry ID Card within 30 days of approving the application.

Patients and caregivers must submit fingerprints from a certified vendor. A list of approved medical cannabis vendors can be found here. Patients also have to designate a dispensary and must notify DPH of any changes to their chosen dispensary.

The Illinois program has special rules for military veterans who are unable to obtain a certification from a non-Veteran's Administration (VA) physician. If the person otherwise qualifies and is a VA-patient, they may provide the following instead of a physician certification: (1) a copy of their U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs official hospital medical records requested on VA form 10-5345, and (2) a copy of their DD214 or equivalent certified document indicating character and dates of service.

Terminally ill patients are exempt from the fingerprinting and application fee requirements and the DPH must process their applications within 10 days of submission. Illinois has a webpage with more information for terminally ill patients.

Eligible conditions:

Patients with the following debilitating medical conditions are eligible for a Registry ID Card:

  • Cancer
  • Glaucoma
  • Positive Status For Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV)
  • Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS)
  • Hepatitis C
  • Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS)
  • Crohn's Disease
  • Agitation of Alzheimer's Disease
  • Cachexia/Wasting Syndrome
  • Muscular Dystrophy
  • Severe Fibromyalgia
  • Spinal Cord Disease, including but not limited to Arachnoiditis
  • Tarlov Cysts
  • Hydromyelia
  • Syringomyelia
  • Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA)
  • Fibrous Dysplasia
  • Spinal Cord Injury
  • Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) and Post-Concussion Syndrome
  • Multiple Sclerosis
  • Arnold-Chiari Malformation and Syringomyelia
  • Spinocerebellar Ataxia (SCA)
  • Parkinson's Disease
  • Tourette's Syndrome
  • Myoclonus
  • Dystonia
  • Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy
  • RSD (Complex Regional Pain Syndromes Type I)
  • Causalgia
  • CRPS (Complex Regional Pain Syndromes Type Ii)
  • Neurofibromatosis
  • Chronic Inflammatory Demyelinating Polyneuropathy
  • Sjogren's Syndrome
  • Lupus
  • Interstitial Cystitis
  • Myasthenia Gravis
  • Hydrocephalus
  • Nail-Patella Syndrome
  • Residual Limb Pain
  • Seizures (including those characteristic of epilepsy) (added by SB 2636 (2014))
  • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) (added by SB10 (2016))
  • any terminal illness with a diagnosis of 6 months or less (added by SB10 (2016));
  • or any other debilitating medical condition that is added pursuant to statute or by rulemaking initiated by the Illinois Department of Public Health

During a one-month period each year, the Illinois Department of Public Health ("DPH") accepts petitions for the addition of new debilitating medical conditions. Petitions must be in the form specified by the DPH and include certain specified supporting information. The DPH must accept or reject any petition within 180 days of submission.

Becoming a Patient as a Minor:

Patients under the age of 18 may apply for a registry ID card under certain conditions. The minor must have a debilitating medical condition and two certifications -- one from their physician following an in-person visit and another from a reviewing physician based on the minor's medical records. The minor's custodial parent or legal guardian must be the minor's designated caregiver and complete his or her application. The minor may have up to two designated caregivers. Minors are not required to submit a photo with their application or undergo a fingerprint background check.

Patients under the age of 18 must obtain a second certification from a reviewing physician (except for patients with a terminal illness, who are exempt from this requirement). Physicians asked to provide this certification must confirm the diagnosis of a debilitating medical condition following review of the patient's medical history and medical records but are not required to conduct an in-person examination.

Benefits of Being a Patient:

Patients in Illinois are allowed to grow up to five cannabis plants at home.

Becoming a Caregiver:

Patients may select a designated caregiver to assist with the patient's use of medical cannabis. Patients under the age of 18 may have two designated caregivers, if both are parents or legal guardians with significant decision-making responsibility for the patient. Designated caregivers must be 21 years of age or older and must apply for a Registry ID Card online through the Medical Cannabis Program's online application portalstate's online application portal or by completing and submitting a printed application available online. The application process and requirements for designated caregivers are consistent with those for patients. Registry ID Cards for designated caregivers are valid for 3 years and cost $75 if applied for at the same time as the patient and $100 if applied for separately.

A patient's designated caregiver may purchase and possess up to 2.5 ounces of medical cannabis from a state-licensed dispensary. A patient and his or her designated caregiver are prohibited from purchasing (collectively) more than 2.5 ounces of medical cannabis during any two week period.

Out of State Patients:

The State of Illinois does not offer reciprocity to out of state patients.

Home Cultivation:

Patients in Illinois are allowed to grow up to five plants at any stage of growth in an enclosed, secure and out of site area. You may designate someone to tend to your plants if you are away for a short period of time.