Illinois was the first state where recreational marijuana sales were legalized by the state legislature and not a ballot initiative. The first dispensaries opened in January 2020, and reported some $3.2 million in sales on the first day of operations. The state legalized medical cannabis in 2013, and allows the cultivation of up to five plants for medical patients. For non-medical patients, cultivating up to five plants is considered a violation and subject to a $200 fine.
How to get a medical card in Illinois
Prospective medical marijuana recipients in the state of Illinois must apply online for acceptance. Before filling out the online form, applicants must print out the physician certification from the Medical Cannabis Pilot Program website and get it filled out and signed from a physician specifying their condition, and submit it along with a passport photo. They must also make sure to have a valid government-issued ID from the state of Illinois.
Applicants must apply for a one, two, or three-year registry identification card. These cost $100, $200, and $250 respectively. People who receive Social Security Disability Income or Supplemental security UIncome (SSI) and veterans may be eligible for the reduced application fee, which cuts the cost in half.
Applicants who have been diagnosed with six months or less to live qualify for a free Terminal Illness Registry Card. The state also allows designated caregivers to procure medical marijuana, provided they are at least 21 years of age, have agreed to assist with a patient’s medical use of cannabis, have not been convicted of an excluded offense, and are not assisting more than one registered qualifying patient with their medical cannabis use.
The qualifying “debilitating medical conditions” that patients in Illinois can receive medical cannabis for include:
- Positive status for (HIV)
- Hepatitis C
- Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis
- Crohn’s disease (including, but not limited to, ulcerative colitis)
- Agitation of Alzheimer’s disease
- Cachexia/wasting syndrome
- Muscular dystrophy
- Severe fibromyalgia
- Spinal cord disease,including but not limited to arachnoiditis
- Tarlov cysts
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Fibrous dysplasia
- Spinal cord injury
- Traumatic brain injury and post-concussion syndrome
- Multiple Sclerosis
- Arnold-Chiari malformation and Syringomyelia
- Spinocerebellar Ataxia (SCA)
- Parkinson’s Disease
- Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy, RSD (Complex Regional Pain Syndromes Type I)
- CRPS (Complex Regional Pain Syndromes Type II)
- Chronic Inflammatory Demyelinating Polyneuropathy
- Sjogren’s syndrome
- Interstitial Cystitis
- Myasthenia Gravis
- Nail-patella syndrome
- Residual limb pain
- Seizures (including those characteristic of epilepsy)
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
- Chronic pain
- Irritable bowel syndrome
- Anorexia nervosa
- Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome
- Neuro-Behcet’s Autoimmune Disease
- Polycystic kidney disease
- Superior canal dehiscence syndrome
Illinois does not honor medical marijuana licenses from other states.
Where to Buy
Illinois lawmakers approved the Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Pilot Program Act in 2013, and it went into effect in 2014. Under the law, patients can be in possession of up to 2.5 ounces of cannabis in a 14-day period and as of January 2020, they can also grow up to five plants.
The first medical dispensary in the state opened in 2015, and there are currently dozens operating in the state.
In 2019, Illinois approved the possession and sale of recreational cannabis, and as of January 2020, adults over the age of 21 can purchase marijuana at the state’s legal retail cannabis dispensaries.
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