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Illinois Medical Cannabis Patient Program

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Your 4-Step Quick Guide

How To Get An Illinois Medical Cannabis Card

To be eligible, an individual must:

  • Be an Illinois resident with a valid, non-expired Illinois state ID or drivers license
  • Not be a CDL or school bus permit holder, active duty law enforcement, correctional officer, or firefighter
  • Have a qualifying medical condition 
    • Autism
    • Agitation of Alzheimer’s disease
    • HIV/AIDS
    • Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS)
    • Anorexia nervosa
    • Arnold-Chiari malformation
    • Cancer
    • Cachexia/wasting syndrome
    • Causalgia
    • Chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyneuropathy
    • Chronic pain
    • Crohn’s disease
    • CRPS (complex regional pain syndrome Type II)
    • Dystonia
    • Ehlers-Danlos syndrome
    • Fibrous Dysplasia
    • Glaucoma
    • Hepatitis C
    • Hydrocephalus
    • Hydromyelia
    • Interstitial cystitis
    • Irritable bowel syndrome
    • Lupus
    • Migraines
    • Multiple Sclerosis
    • 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 those characteristic 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
    • Superior canal dehiscence syndrome
    • Syringomyelia
    • Tarlov cysts
    • Tourette syndrome
    • Traumatic brain injury
    • Ulcerative colitis

Illinois-licensed doctors, physician assistants, and advanced practice nurses are permitted to certify individuals seeking to obtain their medical cannabis card. If your health care professional is unwilling to complete the certification, Herbal Remedies is happy to recommend one that does.

Gone are the days of bringing a paper form to your physician to sign. The certification is now submitted online-only via the Illinois Cannabis Tracking System (at etk.icts.illinois.gov). If they’ve never utilized this system before, the health care professional must create an account. Upon registration, the health care professional can log in and navigate within the platform to complete the certification of their patients. If your healthcare professional notes your medical condition is lifelong, a new certification is not required for future renewals.

Do you need a caregiver (someone that can purchase medical cannabis at the dispensary on your behalf)? Are you a veteran? Do you have a terminal illness? Is the prospective patient under 18 years of age? If so, please scroll down for additional guidelines.

online healthcare certification screenshot

The prospective Illinois medical cannabis patient will need the following items:

  • An email address
    • An email address that is valid and easily accessible as all communication with the Illinois Department of Public Health, including notifying you of your approved medical card, occurs through that medium.

  • Debit, credit, or prepaid card
    • The online application fee is $50 for a one-year card, $100 for a two-year card, and $125 for a three-year card. If the healthcare professional noted the applicant has a life-long medical condition during the certification process, this individual is eligible for a three-year card at $50. Ensure your card has sufficient funds to cover this, in addition to an online processing fee of 2.25%.
    • Applicants ages 65 and older, veterans (with a DD-214 showing an honorable discharge), and those receiving federal disability benefits or supplemental security income (with a Benefit Verification Letter from the Social Security office) are eligible for a 50% reduced application fee.

  • An unexpired Illinois drivers license or state ID
    • If the address on your ID differs from your current address, you must have additional proof of residency such as a:
      • Paystub or electronic deposit receipt (issued less than 60 days before applying online, that shows evidence of withholding for State income tax)
      • Valid voter registration card with an address in Illinois
      • Current military identification card
      • Bank statement (dated less than 90 days before application) or credit card statement (dated less than 60 days before applying)
      • Deed/title, mortgage or rental/lease agreement; property tax bill
      • Insurance policy (current coverage for automobile, homeowner’s, health or medical, or renters)
      • Medical claim or statement of benefits (from a hospital or health clinic, a private insurance company, or public (government) agency, dated less than 12 months before applying)
      • Tuition invoice/official mail from college or university (dated less than the 12 months before applying)
      • Utility bill, including, but not limited to, those for electric, water, refuse, telephone land-line, cellular phone, cable, or gas (issued less than 60 days before applying)
      • W-2 from the most recent tax year 

  • A passport-style photograph
    • If you take the photo on your own or utilize the services of a passport vendor, be mindful that it must have been:
      • Done in the last 30 days 
      • Photographed against a plain, white, or off-white backdrop 
      • In a natural color with no filters
      • Show a complete view of your face looking toward the camera with a neutral facial expression and both eyes open 
      • Not wearing a hat, glasses, or anything that obstructs the face 
      • Be at least 2 inches by 2 inches in size
    • Herbal Remedies is happy to take a compliant photograph should we assist you with the online application to get your card.

Grab a computer and head on over to the Illinois Cannabis Tracking System website (at etk.icts.illinois.gov). Mobile and tablet devices cannot access this website at this time. 

  • Click the blue “MCPP Patient Registration” button to create an account and follow any outlined instructions. 
  • So long as your health care professional has completed the online certification in advance, you can now click the “+ New MCPP Patient Registration” button when logged in to begin the online application process. 
  • Carefully complete every online application section, including uploading any required applicant items, and submit accordingly.

That’s it! You’ve successfully applied for your Illinois medical cannabis card. You’ll receive a 90-day provisional letter (granting temporary access) within 48 hours while the state reviews your application in further detail. This letter is accessible when logged into your account and must be printed and brought with you to the medical dispensary. Upon application approval, you can log in and print your medical card. If your application is denied, you will be notified via email on the reason why and how you may be able to correct any discrepancies.

online mcpp application

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To assist their loved ones in purchasing and using medical cannabis, qualifying applicants can choose to designate up to three individuals to serve as caregivers during the application process. A caregiver must be at least 21 years of age and a resident of Illinois.

On the Illinois Cannabis Tracking System website (at etk.icts.illinois.gov), a question will appear on the patient application asking if they’d like to add caregivers. The patient then continues the remainder of the process and saves accordingly. The “MCPP Patient Caregiver” tab in the online platform is where the caregiver’s information can be input. A prospective caregiver will need the same required application items as the patient, excluding a health care professional online certification. 

Application fees are $25 for a one-year, $50 for a two-year, or $75 for a three-year medical card per designated caregiver. Caregivers of patients certified by their health care professional for having a lifelong condition are required to get a three-year card for $75. Ensure your debit, credit, or prepaid card used to pay these fees has sufficient funds, in addition to an online processing fee of 2.25%. 

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Terminal Illness

Individuals who have been diagnosed with any terminal illness with a projected life expectancy of six months or less have the option to apply for an Illinois medical cannabis card as well. These individuals are not subject to paying an application fee, and the card they will be issued is only valid for a six-month duration. During the online certification process, the health care professional will note if the patient’s condition is terminal in nature.

Are you a veteran with a terminal illness receiving health care services from a Veterans Affairs facility? If so, you must still upload 12 months of VA medical records to the online application, but they must show a terminal diagnosis.

If the patient’s health should improve and their diagnosis is no longer deemed terminal after six months, they may later apply for a one, two, or three-year medical cannabis card if eligible.

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Qualifying individuals under the age of 18 are not required to submit a passport-style photo with their online application to get their medical card. However, they are required to be certified by two qualifying health care professionals. In addition, all other required applicant items (including an Illinois state ID) are needed for the minor to become a medical cannabis cardholder.

Furthermore, minors are subject to designate at least one caregiver during the online application process. The required caregiver gets processed at no charge, but any other added caregiver will have a fee.

Please understand that caregivers of minors will only be allowed to purchase cannabis-infused products from dispensaries. Other types of medical cannabis products, including ones that require inhalation, are strictly prohibited.

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Veterans receiving health care from a Veterans Affairs facility do not need to have a health care professional complete an online certification. Instead, these individuals need to obtain the last 12 months of VA medical records that show the diagnosis of a qualifying condition. Medical records are accessible by logging into the online VA portal at myhealth.va.gov or request them from your local VA facility. All other necessary steps to get your Illinois medical cannabis card remain the same.

If you didn’t know, veterans who upload a DD-214 during the online application process (showing an honorable discharge) are eligible to receive a 50% reduced application fee.

I’ve Applied To Get My Illinois Medical Cannabis Card. Now What?

You will be issued a Provisional Access Letter via email granting you temporary access to medical cannabis usually within 24 hours. When it becomes available, call our dispensary at (217) 214-6337 to schedule a first visit patient consultation. Bring the Provisional Access Letter and another form of photo ID with you to this appointment. Be mindful that the Provisional Access Letter remains valid for 90 days while the Illinois Dept. of Public Health (IDPH) examines your medical cannabis application in further detail. If any discrepancies with your online application are discoveredIDPH will notify you via email on how to go about correcting any issues. Upon application approval, your medical cannabis card is typically mailed to you within a couple of weeks. If you do not receive your medical cannabis card as your provisional access letter nears expiration, contact IDPH by calling (855) 636-3688 or emailing DPH.medicalcannabis@illinois.gov. We cannot contact IDPH on your behalf.