How do I get a medical marijuana card in Illinois?

“I’m a (legal) recreational user of weed in Illinois. But I cope with a fair amount of chronic pain from an old boating accident. I’m thinking about getting a medical marijuana card. Is this easy?”

Joe M.

It is easy but you have to follow the right steps so you can get access to legal medical marijuana without a problem. This will allow you to take advantage of medical-only dispensaries, lower costs because of fewer taxes, and the ability to grow your own plants — up to five, provided they are out of sight, unavailable to minors and meet other qualifications.

Getting a medical card requires an appointment with a certified practitioner who will evaluate whether your health condition merits certification. After this, you register with the state and pay the necessary fees to receive a medical marijuana card.

You actually don’t receive a card. These days you get a digital version, which you print out and present to one of the state’s licensed dispensaries, like Verilife, which has eight locations in Illinois, serving the medical and recreational markets.

You can either go to the physical dispensary or order home delivery online.

Carly G.

You’ll be happy to hear there are a number of weed strains that can help with chronic pain. For example, Sour Diesel is a high THC concentrate strain that can boost energy and mood as it helps manage pain. Because of the energy boost, it is good for daytime use.

Some of the Verilife dispensaries carry Sativa Sour Diesel Dogwalkers pre-rolls, with a whopping 30+% THC content. When you buy this cannabis product, a portion of the proceeds goes to deserving animal shelters across the country. So it’s a win-win.

If you prefer your pain management without getting over-the-top high, then it’s a good idea to use a strain with high CBD content. For this reason, Harlequin has become popular with the medical marijuana community looking for pain relief and other health benefits without the pronounced psychoactivity. The Sativa hybrid typically has a CBD/THC ratio of 5/2.

Melissa B.

When looking to get a medical marijuana card in Illinois, the first step is to have a consultation with a healthcare practitioner. This can include advanced practice registered nurse–full practice authority, advanced practice nurse, physician assistant, doctor of medicine (MD) or doctor of osteopathic medicine (DO).

Of course, the question is, does the practitioner have the knowledge to answer your questions and provide certification for your condition?. Not all medical practitioners, including some family doctors, have kept up with the field of cannabis care, because it is so fast changing, and in some cases they are put off by the stigma that sometimes accompanies marijuana use.

HelloMD’s practitioners are all thoroughly versed in matching your medical with a long list of debilitating conditions, ranging from autism and Alzheimer’s to traumatic brain injury and ulcerative colitis.

The process is easy and smooth, and all done online. You sign up and provide basic information about yourself, and then you do a consultation with an experienced Illinois practitioner, typically lasting 15 to 30 minutes. They’ll ask you some questions about your medical history, and you can ask them any questions you have or tell them about any concerns.

Once you’re certified, you will need to register your certification with Illinois’ online Medical Cannabis Patient Program, where you will need proof of residency in addition to proof of identification.

After you submit your application, you’ll receive a provisional registration letter, which you’ll print and use to buy medical cannabis at a state-licensed dispensary. The letter is valid for 90 days. If Illinois approves your application for medical marijuana status, you’ll then receive a digital copy of your medical card that you can print out and use at dispensaries.

The cost of the HelloMD consultation is $159, and you only pay if you are approved. There are also state fees you’ll have to pay for when you make your application, ranging from $25 to $300, depending on how long the card is good for, and the number of designated caregivers assigned to a patient.

I hope that helps.

Peter G.

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