Recommending Cannabis in Illinois

Rather than recommending medical cannabis, physicians must certify that the patient has a qualifying debilitating medical condition.  In order to make this certification, physicians must have a bona fide physician-patient relationship, have an ongoing expectation to care for and treat the patient, review the patient’s medical history, and complete an in-person physical examination of the patient within 90 days prior to completing the certification.  The physician must be licensed in Illinois as a doctor of medicine or osteopathy, be in good standing to practice medicine in Illinois, and have a controlled substances license under Article III of the Illinois Controlled Substances Act.   

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.  

Physicians providing certifications generally are not permitted to have an economic interest in or work for or with medical marijuana cultivation centers or dispensaries.  Physicians are not permitted to refer patients to dispensaries.  

Additional guidelines for physicians and the certification forms can be found here. The certification must be sent to the Illinois Department of Public Health by the physician.