How To Enroll As A Medical Cannabis Patient In The State Of Illinois
The Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Pilot Program Act was signed by Illinois Governor Quinn on August 1, 2013, and went into effect on January 1, 2014. The State of Illinois has already been accepting applications from prospective medical marijuana patients. Patients whose last names begin with A - L had until Oct. 31 to submit applications. Patients whose last names begin with M - Z have a window to apply between Nov. 1 and December 31. After that, it will be open enrollment for everyone, regardless of what letter your last name starts with.
Qualifying Conditions For The Illinois Medical Marijuana Program
The first step to becoming a medical marijuana patient in Illinois is determining if you suffer from one of the following conditions, per the Illinois Department of Public Health:
Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS)
• Agitation of Alzheimer's disease
• Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS)
• Arnold-Chiari malformation and Syringomelia
• Cachexia/wasting syndrome
• Chronic Inflammatory Demyelinating Polyneuropathy
• Crohn's disease
• CRPS (Complex Regional Pain Syndromes Type II)
• Fibromyalgia (severe)
• Fibrous dysplasia
• Hepatitis C
• Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV)
• Interstitial Cystitis
• Multiple Sclerosis
• Muscular dystrophy
• Myasthenia Gravis
• Nail-patella syndrome
• Parkinson's disease
• Post-concussion syndrome
• RSD (Complex Regional Pain Syndromes Type I)
• Residual limb pain
• Rheumatoid arthritis (RA)
• Seizures, including those characteristic of epilepsy (Starting January 1, 2015)
• Sjogren's syndrome
• Spinal cord disease, including, but not limited to, arachnoiditis, Tarlov cysts, hydromyelia, syringomyelia
• Spinal cord injury
• Spinocerebellar Ataxia (SCA)
• Tourette's syndrome
• Traumatic brain injury (TBI)
Eventually there will be more conditions added to the list, but as of the writing of this blog post, only those conditions qualify a patient. Per the Illinois Department of Public Health:
Illinois residents may petition the Illinois Department of Public Health to add medical conditions to the list of debilitating medical conditions included in the Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Pilot Program. The Department is developing a process for considering the petitions, including establishing an advisory board and holding public hearings. At this point petitions are not being accepted. Check the Department's website for updates.
Find A Doctor To Sign Your Illinois Medical Marijuana Paperwork
If you suffer from one or more of the conditions above, the next step is seeing a medical doctor who will diagnose you with the condition, and sign off on your medical marijuana paperwork. This can prove to be more difficult than most people think. Due to personal/professional reasons, not all doctors will sign off on the condition. That's the case in every medical marijuana state. In order for a doctor to be able to sign your paperwork, they have to fit the following description from the Illinois Department of Public Health:
The medical provider must be a doctor of medicine or osteopathy licensed under the Medical Practice Act of 1987, have a controlled substances license under Article III of Illinois Controlled Substances Act, be in good standing to practice medicine in Illinois, and have a bona fide physician-patient relationship with the patient they are certifying for medical cannabis.
'Bona fide physician-patient relationship' is a subjective term, but it's definition according to the Illinois Department of Public Health is:
...a relationship in which the physician has ongoing responsibility for the assessment, care and treatment of a patient's debilitating medical condition, or a symptom of the patient's debilitating medical condition, for which the physician has certified to the Illinois Department of Public Health that the qualifying patient would receive therapeutic or palliative benefit from the medical cannabis.
What I had to do to become a medical marijuana patient was establish my condition with one doctor, then transfer my medical records to a new, more compassionate doctor that would then sign my medical marijuana paperwork. I did that in Oregon, which was sufficient for my state. Whether or not that will be sufficient in Illinois is yet to be determined. As of the writing of this article, roughly 11,000 people have applied to become a medical marijuana patient in Illinois, with just roughly 600 of those applications being approved. That would suggest that government regulators are quite picky. New rules were added to allow children to become patients, but it requires two signatures in that instance.
How To Submit Your Illinois Medical Marijuana Paperwork
However, once you have been diagnosed, and had a doctor sign off on your application (which can be found at this link here), you then submit it via the instructions found on the form. The instructions can also be found below:
Applications may be mailed to:
Illinois Department of Public Health
Division of Medical Cannabis
535 W. Jefferson St.
Springfield, IL 62761-0001
Applications may be completed online at: https://medicalcannabispatients.illinois.gov
Fees To Become A Medical Marijuana Patient In Illinois
- Annual qualifying patient application fee is $100
- Annual qualifying patient reduced application fee is $50 For qualifying patients enrolled in the federal Social Security Disability Income (SSDI) or the Supplement Security Income (SSI) disability programs, submit a copy of a letter or other documentation form the Social Security Administration identifying the qualifying patient and showing the amount of monthly Social Security and Supplemental Security Income disability benefits to be received by the qualifying patient during the current year of application. Veterans must provide a copy of their DD214.
- Annual caregiver application fee is $25
- Replacement card fee is $25
- Returned check fee is $35
Where To Find Medical Marijuana In Illinois
The Illinois medical marijuana program does not allow patients to grow their own medical marijuana. As a result, the only way to acquire medical marijuana is from one of the soon-to-be licensed medical marijuana dispensaries, who have obtained the medical marijuana from a soon-to-be licensed medical marijuana grower. Licenses are expected to be issued to approved Illinois medical marijuana businesses in early 2015. Illinois medical marijuana regulators are evaluating 369 applications to open 21 grow centers and 60 dispensaries statewide. Once applicants are approved, medical marijuana cultivation will begin instantly, and patients can expect to see product hit dispensary shelves a few months later.
To keep up to date on medical marijuana implementation in Illinois via your mobile phone, text message 'meds' to 420420.