Frequently Asked Questions

Since the Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Pilot Program Act went into effect January 1, 2014, many concerns have arisen surrounding the laws and processes of The Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Pilot Program Act (CUMCPPA). Following are answers to common questions of Illinois cannabis patients and caregivers, including information about how to apply for a Medical Cannabis Registry Identification Card (MCRIC).

Q: What are the qualifying conditions for the State of Illinois?
A: Conditions that currently qualify for medical cannabis use in Illinois are:

  • Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS)
  • Agitation of Alzheimer’s Disease
  • Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis
  • Arachnoiditis
  • Arnold-Chiari Malformation
  • Cachexia/Wasting Syndrome
  • Cancer
  • Causalgia
  • Chronic Inflammatory Demyelinating Polyneuropathy
  • Crohn’s Disease
  • CRPS (Complex Regional Pain Syndromes Type II)
  • Dystonia
  • Fibrous Dysplasia
  • Glaucoma
  • Hepatitis C
  • Hydrocephalus
  • Hydromyelia
  • Interstitial Cystitis
  • Lupus
  • Multiple Sclerosis
  • Muscular Dystrophy
  • Myasthenia Gravis
  • Myoclonus
  • Nail-Patella Syndrome
  • Neurofibromatosis
  • Parkinson’s Syndrome
  • Positive Status for Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV)
  • Post-Concussion Syndrome
  • PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder)
  • Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy
  • Residual Limb Pain
  • Rheumatoid Arthritis
  • RSD (Complex Regional Pain Syndromes Type I),
  • Seizures (including those characteristic of Epilepsy), or the treatment of these conditions
  • Severe Fibromyalgia
  • Sjogren’s Syndrome
  • Spinal Cord Disease: damage to the nervous tissues of the spinal cord with objective neurological indication of intractable spasticity (including but not limited to, arachnoiditis)
  • Spinal Cord Injury
  • Spinocerebellar Ataxia (SCA)
  • Syringomyelia
  • Tarlov Cysts
  • Terminal Illness
  • Tourette’s Syndrome
  • Traumatic Brain Injury

* Any other debilitating medical condition or its treatment that is added by the Illinois Department of Public Health

Q: If I have one of the above debilitating medical conditions do I automatically qualify to become a medical cannabis patient in Illinois?
A: No. To become a medical cannabis patient in Illinois, you must apply for a Medical Cannabis Patient Registry Identification Card issued by the Illinois Department of Public Health. Eligibility requires that you:

  • Are a current resident of Illinois
  • Remain as an Illinois resident while participating in the program
  • Have a qualifying medical condition (listed above)
  • Have a signed physician certification form (unless you are a Veteran, receiving medical care at a VA facility) for the use of medical cannabis
  • Complete the fingerprint-based background check within 30 days of submitting your application
  • Are at least 18 years of age, unless you suffer from Epileptic Seizures and/or diagnosed with a Terminal Illness
  • Not be convicted of an “excluded offense” unless the Illinois Department of Public Health waives your convictions

Q: What is the meaning of “Excluded Offense?”
A: An Excluded Offense is considered a violent crime as defined by Section 3 of the Rights of Crime Victims and Witnesses Act, or similar offense classified as a felony, such as a violation of a state or federal controlled substance law classified as a felony in the state where the conviction took place. It is possible for the Department of Public Health to waive a person’s conviction if he/she satisfactorily demonstrates to the Department that the cannabis felony was intended for medical use. This exception does not apply to parties convicted and/or involved in a violation under the state’s existing medical cannabis law.

Q: How do I, as a patient, apply for the Medical Cannabis Patient Registration Identification Card?
A: The basic application process is as follows (click here for full details):

  • Visit the Illinois Department of Public Health.
  • Make an appointment with your doctor about your potential use of medical Cannabis,  s/he must complete a Physician Written Certification Form and mail it to the Illinois Department of Public Health.
  • Fill out your personal Patient Application Form completely and accurately.
  • Include a 2” x 2” photo of yourself.
  • Submit at least two forms of ID indicating you are an Illinois resident.
  • If you are assigning a Caregiver, include a completed and signed Caregiver application.
  • Get fingerprinted by an approved vendor and complete the Fingerprint Consent Form. NOTE: Once you are fingerprinted, you have only 30 days to submit your completed Patient Application.
  • Include your application fee.
  • Questions? Contact: DPH Division of Medical Cannabis, 855-636-3688 or DPH.MedicalCannabis@Illinois.gov.
  • Double-check all your information and send to:
    Illinois Department of Public Health
    Division of Medical Cannabis
    535 W. Jefferson St.
    Springfield, IL 62761-0001

Q: How long does it take to receive my MCRIC?
A: The Illinois Department of Public Health will review and either approve or deny your application within 30 days.

Q: When will my MCRIC expire?
A: Your MCPRIC is valid for three years.

Q: What is the application fee for an MCRIC?
A: The MCRIC application fee is $300 for qualifying patients. However, applicants enrolled in the federal Social Security Disability Income or Supplemental Security Income disability programs may qualify for a reduced fee of $150. If you have been diagnosed with a Terminal Illness, there are no application fees.

Q: How much cannabis may I possess?
A: The Illinois Medical Cannabis program allows for patients to obtain and transport up to 2.5 ounces of usable cannabis for a period of 14 days.

Q: Does the state of Illinois honor out-of-state registries?
A: No, there are currently no reciprocity agreements in place with other states.

Q: Does state law protect me from federal Cannabis laws?
A: No. Possession and distribution of cannabis by any person remains a criminal offense under federal law.

Q: What is the process of becoming a caregiver?
A: Patients may designate a caregiver. S/he must go through a similar application process listed above for patients and submit a Designated Caregiver Registry Identification Card Application with an application fee of $75. Note: If a caregiver is designated, the Caregiver Application must be submitted with the Patient Application. A caregiver may not cultivate cannabis for the patient, and is only allowed to obtain or possess on behalf of one qualified patient.

Q: Can a minor become a patient in the Illinois Medical Cannabis Program?
A: Yes, patients under 18 who have one or more of the qualifying medical conditions listed above may be registered in the program by assigning their parent or legal guardian as their selected caregiver.

Q: If I am a Veteran receiving medical treatment from a Veterans’ hospital, can I become a qualified patient?
A: Federal law currently prohibits doctors at federally-funded Veterans’ hospitals from issuing written recommendations for medical cannabis. However, Veterans who are Illinois residents can still obtain a Medical Cannabis Patient Registry Identification Card without a physician recommendation by following these steps:

  • Submit a copy of your DD214
  • Complete VA 10-5345 Form to release medical records to yourself
  • To obtain VA records electronically, click here
  • Once you receive your official medical records, you must submit the medical records with your application.
  • Mail records to:
    Illinois Department of Public Health
    Division of Medical Cannabis
    535 W Jefferson St.
    Springfield, IL 62761-0001

Q: Does health insurance cover the costs of medicine?
A: No insurance companies in Illinois currently cover the cost of medical cannabis for patients.

Q: What types of products will be available for patients?
A: Cannabis flower, edibles and concentrates will be available at your selected dispensary.

Q: Where can I use medical cannabis in Illinois?
A: Use of medical cannabis is prohibited in the following places:

  • Within a school bus
  • On the grounds of any school (preschool, primary or secondary)
  • On the grounds of any correctional facility
  • Inside any motor vehicle
  • Inside a private residence, which, at any time, provides licensed child care or other similar social service care on the premises
  • Any place that prohibits smoking (including healthcare facilities) under the Smoke-free Illinois Act and knowingly in close physical proximity to anyone under the age of 18
  • Any public place*

*A public place” includes all parts of buildings owned (wholly or in part) or leased by the state or local unit of government, or any place where an individual could reasonably be expected to be observed by others.

A public place does not include a private residence (unless property is used to provide licensed childcare, foster care or other similar social service care on the premises).