What Are the Benefits of Having Medical Marijuana Cards in Illinois?
While there are a number of benefits of having a medical cannabis card in Illinois, it’s not really an either-or situation. You get a medical card if you need it — if you have a condition that’s qualified by the state to receive cannabis products.
The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDHP) has a long and growing list of “debilitating conditions” that qualify, including chronic pain, glaucoma, migraines, rheumatoid arthritis, and many others.
You need to consult with a health practitioner to see if you might qualify for your certification, and then apply to get your card through the state.
After that you can buy your weed through a legal dispensary, some of which only serve medical marijuana patents.
Besides the health benefits, one of the great reasons to get medical marijuana cards is a financial one. Legal marijuana in Illinois can be expensive because of taxes.
There are a lot of taxes here. There’s an excise tax that can be up to 25% of the purchase price at some dispensaries. In addition to that, there’s up to 6.5% charged for Illinois sales tax. Medical marijuana cardholders are exempt except for a 1% state retailer occupational tax, so you can save almost 33% of your weed costs for the year.
Also, under the law, medical marijuana patients are prioritized, so they get access to their supply even if there are shortages in the recreational market. A number of dispensaries offer discounts and reserve a certain supply of premium products for medical cannabis patients.
Also with medical-grade dispensaries you get access to better quality products, sometimes sourced from local and organic growers.
As well, if you have a green thumb and want to save money, you can grow up to five cannabis plants as a medical user, but could be fined as much as $200 for doing the same as a rec user.
I should also point out that if you’re 21 or older and a legal Illinois resident, you are allowed to buy up to 30g of weed , five grams of concentrate, and edibles with up to 500mg of THC as a recreational user. But as a medical marijuana patient, or an authorized caregiver, you can basically get twice the amount. You can buy up to 2.5 ounces (71 grams) of cannabis per 14-day period from an authorized dispensary.
And while minors can’t use weed legally, people under the age of 18 could possibly get a medical card with the permission of a parent or guardian.
Once you have a medical marijuana card, if you have a health condition that makes it hard to get around, you could have an authorized caregiver buy products for you. But dispensaries like Verilife also have online ordering and will do home deliveries, often the same day.
Verilife also has some good advice for you if you are going to be talking to a health practitioner about possibly getting a medical marijuana card. For example, you should have your health records available, and be prepared to talk about what you hope to gain by using medical weed. Have a list of questions you want to ask — about possible side effects, or examples, and the pros and cons of medical cannabis. And so on.