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Cannabis Resources

There are some basics to understand before jumping into recreational and medical cannabis use in Illinois. Learn more in the following FAQs.

What You Should Know as an Illinois Cannabis User

If you want to become a medical marijuana patient in Illinois, you might not know where to begin. So, we’ve answered the top questions people have about cannabis in Illinois.

Resources for Medical Marijuana and Recreational Cannabis Users in Illinois

Cannabis has been legal for recreational use in Illinois since January 2020. Illinois was also one of the earlier states to successfully pass medical marijuana legislation, in 2013. Looking to learn more about cannabis use in Illinois? Here are some of the resources you will need.

New Illinois Medical Marijuana Patients

How Do I Receive a Medical Marijuana Card in Illinois?

The Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Pilot Program Act was passed back in 2013 and took effect the following year. This was the beginning of medical marijuana programs in the state. This has since become the Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Program Act; it is no longer a pilot program and has become a permanent part of Illinois law.

To receive a medical marijuana card in Illinois, you need to be diagnosed with one of several qualifying conditions. The list of qualifying diagnoses is extensive, including Alzheimer’s disease, autism, cancer, chronic pain, fibromyalgia, HIV/AIDS, lupus, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and many more. Unsure whether you qualify? Your physician will be able to assist you.

If you qualify, your physician will complete a Physician Written Certification. The patient will submit this certification alongside their application, current residency, and ID information. If accepted, the patient will be required to renew their medical marijuana card each year—however, in terms of payment, you’ll be able to choose among a one-year, two-year, and three-year registry card.

Where Can I Apply for a Patient or Caregiver Medical Marijuana Card in Illinois?

You can apply for an Illinois medical marijuana registry ID online. To start, you can find instructions here on how to fill out your MCPP patient application with or without a caregiver.

Illinois Medical and Recreational Marijuana FAQs

Whether you’re familiar with cannabis or not, you might have questions regarding the process of legally obtaining the substance for medical or recreational purposes. So, we’ve put together a handy series of questions, all pertaining to cannabis in the state of Illinois.

Is Cannabis Fully Legal?

As of 2020, cannabis is fully legal in Illinois. The use of cannabis for medical purposes has been legal within the state since 2013.

To possess or acquire recreational cannabis, you must be at least 21 years old. Adult residents in Illinois are permitted to hold up to 30 mg of cannabis at any given time, as well as 5 grams of cannabis concentrate. You may also possess a maximum of 500 mg of cannabis-infused products, including edibles.

If you are not a resident of Illinois, you’re permitted to possess up to half these amounts.

Also, if you are a registered medical marijuana patient, you’re permitted to cultivate a maximum of five cannabis plants for personal medical use.

How Much Does It Cost to Receive a Medical Marijuana Card in Illinois?

The amount you’ll pay to receive a medical marijuana card depends upon a few factors. First, you’ll be able to choose between a one-year, two-year, or three-year term. Additionally, some patients may qualify for a reduced fee.

The application fees in Illinois are:

  • One-year term: $50
  • Two-year term: $100
  • Three-year term: $125

If you qualify for a reduced fee, it will be half the price.

How Long Does It Typically Take to Receive a Medical Marijuana Card in Illinois?

Generally, the turnaround time for medical marijuana registry applications is approximately 90 days from the date of submission.

How Old Must One Be to Receive a Medical Marijuana License in Illinois?

To receive a medical marijuana registry ID without parental permission in Illinois, you must be over 18 years of age. On the other hand, if you’re a minor, your legal parent or guardian must register for a caregiver card for you to receive medicinal cannabis.

How Do I Find a Medical Marijuana Doctor in Illinois?

If I Already Have a Medical Marijuana Registry ID Card, Will I Ever Need to Create a New Portal Account?

No, you won’t. To renew your medical marijuana card, you will use the same portal account associated with your initial application.

Can I Own a Firearm and Possess a Medical Marijuana Card in Illinois?

Due to federal law, an individual may not own a gun or other type of firearm and possess a medical marijuana registry ID card. The only exception to this is if the individual possesses a medical marijuana card, but isn’t currently using it to receive and consume marijuana.

Can a Person Grow Their Own Cannabis in Illinois?

Yes, a medical marijuana patient is permitted to cultivate a maximum of five marijuana plants, as long as these plants are being grown for personal use. If you’re a recreational cannabis user and are discovered growing five or fewer cannabis plants, then you will receive a fine of $200 but won’t face any criminal charges.

Can Medical Marijuana Be Used in a Recreational Way?

No, it is not legal for medical marijuana to be used recreationally. Medicinal cannabis is intended to be used only by qualified patients in a way directed by a physician. However, since recreational cannabis has been legal in Illinois since January 2020, this shouldn’t be an issue for most Illinois cannabis users.

In One Trip to an Illinois Medical Marijuana Dispensary, How Much Cannabis Can I Purchase?

Within a two-week period, medical marijuana cardholders in Illinois can purchase up to 2.5 ounces of cannabis from a dispensary.

How Old Must One Be to Buy and Possess Recreational Cannabis in Illinois?

You will be unable to purchase recreational marijuana if you are under 21 or if you don’t have a valid ID card.

What Marijuana Forms Are Available at Illinois Dispensaries?

In the state, you’re able to choose from several forms of cannabis, including flower, topicals, edibles, extracts, and concentrates.

Is Illinois Cannabis Product Tested Before Sale?

Yes, all cannabis in the state must undergo rigorous product testing to ensure maximum safety and potency. These provisions are outlined in the Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Program Act.

In short, before any cannabis products can be packaged and sold, they undergo batch testing in an independent lab. These labs test for active pesticide ingredients, microbiological contaminants, mycotoxins, and residual solvents. An overall analysis is also performed. If a batch fails these tests, it will be recalled.

What Cannabis Strains Can You Find at Illinois Dispensaries?

Illinois dispensaries sell a variety of cannabis strains. These strains fall under the categories of either indica, sativa, or hybrid; they will also contain varying levels of THC and CBD as well as miscellaneous terpenes, which give cannabis its aroma and taste.

What Should I Do If My Dispensary Doesn’t Carry the Strain I Want?

You could always try speaking with one of the dispensary’s patient assistants to see if they can have their cultivation team grow the strain you’re seeking. Of course, this isn’t a guarantee, but it’s usually worth a try.

Where Am I Permitted to Use Medical Marijuana in Illinois?

In Illinois, legal cannabis consumption is limited to a user’s residence. Public consumption is not permitted, whether medical or recreational.

Should I Frequently Check My Allotment History?

It’s generally a good practice to check your cannabis allotment history regularly. This way, you’ll be able to catch any mistakes in an order before it’s too late to correct them. To correct an allotment error, you’ll need to contact the dispensary.

Is There a Marijuana Fact Sheet for Illinois Users?

Yes, there is. You can find that fact sheet here.

Is It Legal to Drive After Using Cannabis for Medical Purposes in Illinois?

Even if you are using cannabis for medical reasons, it is not legal to operate a motor vehicle after consumption. If you are caught driving under the influence of marijuana in Illinois, you could be charged with a DUI.

When Did Medical Marijuana First Become Legal in Illinois?

Medical marijuana has been legal in the state since 2013, after the signing of the Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Pilot Program Act by Gov. Pat Quinn. The law went into effect January 1, 2014. It has since become a permanent program, called the Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Program Act.

In 2016, bill SB2228 was successfully passed by the Illinois General Assembly. This bill was a stepping stone in the road toward legalizing recreational marijuana in the state, as it decriminalized the possession of small (less than 10 grams) amounts of cannabis. In addition, the ownership of marijuana paraphernalia was decriminalized at that time. Instead, these instances were punishable only by a fine, as they were considered civil law violations.


If Recreational Cannabis is Legal in Illinois, Why Get a Medical Marijuana Card?

Even though recreational cannabis is legal in Illinois, there are still several reasons you might seek a medical marijuana card if you qualify. For one, medical marijuana cardholders are legally permitted to cultivate their own cannabis, with a cap being placed on five plants. Unfortunately, recreational users are not legally able to cultivate their own marijuana, and doing so could result in a fine.

Medical marijuana cardholders will also be able to save money. Unlike recreational users, medical users are not required to pay excise taxes.

Additionally, if you are between the ages of 18 and 21, you aren’t able to legally purchase recreational marijuana, although you could still qualify for a medical card.


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Medical Disclaimer: Nothing on this Website is intended to be taken as medical advice. The information provided on the Website is intended to encourage, not replace, direct patient-health professional relationships. Always consult your primary care physician or other qualified healthcare provider prior to using cannabis or a cannabis product for treatment of a medical condition.
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