How To Get A Medical Marijuana Card In Rockford Illinois
Medical Marijuana (MMJ) in Illinois: The Process For Getting an MMJ Card in Rockford Il.
The fight to bring people access to medical marijuana has been going on since 1996. It is now legal in 33 states across America. And it’s a big hit!
There are over 20,000 patients using medical marijuana in Illinois alone.
But how to get medical marijuana (MMJ) in Illinois isn’t as simple as popping to see the doctor. You need an MMJ card.
Read on to find out everything you need to know about the process of getting an MMJ card.
What are the Rules on Medical Marijuana in Rockford Illinois?
To understand how medical weed works, you need to understand Illinois cannabis laws.
The law outlines the specific conditions that physicians can treat using medical marijuana. In most cases, the purpose of medical weed is to combat symptoms of illness and improve quality of life.
Since 2013, several petitions have added conditions to this list. For example, in 2016 a judge approved adding post-traumatic stress disorder to the list of qualifying conditions.
The use of medical marijuana in Illinois really began in September 2014. This is when the state began accepting applications from patients, vendors or growers.
The law also allows dispensaries throughout the state. These dispensaries can sell medical weed to anyone with an active MMJ card. They started selling weed in November 2014.
However, Illinois does not currently recognize patients from other states. This means you can’t buy weed in Illinois if your MMJ card is for California, or anywhere else. This isn’t the same across all states.
And if you’re wondering ‘is recreational weed legal in Illinois?’ the answer is, not yet. But it will be soon.
At the end of May 2019, the Illinois General Assembly passed a law legalizing recreational weed for adults. This will come into action in January 2020. Until then, the only way to access weed is with an active MMJ card.
So What Is an MMJ Card?
You use an MMJ card to provide identification when buying medical marijuana. This helps the state to regulate use and access to medical marijuana (or MMJ).
Other names for an MMJ card are MMID or cannabis cards. The state only issues them to people who they approve to use medical marijuana.
Your card features a picture of you to help the dispensary confirm your identity. It also has an issue and expiry dates. These mean that people can’t pass on old MMJ cards to people who don’t need them.
To help identify you further, Illinois MMJ cards also feature your address and date of birth.
When you receive an MMJ card, you get an ID number. If you’re a caregiver or have a caregiver, you also get a caregiver ID.
But don’t worry, your MMJ card won’t list any of your personal medical details. The only time you have to disclose these is why you apply for your card. If anyone at a dispensary asks what you’re using medical weed for you don’t have to tell them.
How Do You Qualify For the Use of Medical Cannabis in Rockford IL?
Illinois uses MMJ cards to regulate marijuana use throughout the state. This means you can only get one if you meet certain criteria.
You must be 18 years or above to hold your own MMJ card.
Adult caregivers can hold MMJ cards for minors. However, these require more rigorous vetting. Two physicians have to sign a certificate for a minor to qualify for medical marijuana.
You also must be a legal resident of Illinois. This is because Illinois doesn’t allow treatment of patients from outside the state.
Finally, you must have a diagnosis of one of the qualifying conditions. Some conditions are physical, while others come under the title of mental illnesses.
There are currently 41 conditions on the approved list. These include:
- Multiple Sclerosis (or MS)
- Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS)
- Alzheimer’s disease or dementia
- Muscular dystrophy
- Hepatitis C
- Arnold-Chiari malformation
- Chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyneuropathy
- Parkinson’s disease
- Traumatic brain injury
- Tourette syndrome
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
- Complex regional syndrome Type II (CRPS)
- Reflex sympathetic dystrophy
- Spinal cord disease
- Wasting syndrome
Simply having a diagnosis of one of these conditions doesn’t always mean you can apply for your MMJ card. The state wants to see an established relationship with the diagnosing physician.
This means they can avoid people fraudulently applying for cards. Or even paying off physicians to incorrectly diagnose them. Often the state will take the diagnosing physician’s reputation into consideration.
If you feel your condition should be on the list you can submit a petition to include it. Since 2013 several of these petitions have been successful. This has led to more qualifying conditions being added to the list.
If you have a caregiver they can make an application on your behalf. Or you can include them on your application.
This means that they can collect your medical marijuana for you if you’re unable to do so. It’s a good idea if you find that your condition is physically debilitating. Or if it makes it difficult for you to leave the house sometimes.
A caregiver should be someone you absolutely trust. They should also live nearby. This means they’ll be able to help you out whenever you need.
Choosing a caregiver is an important step so don’t rush through it. If you want to, discuss it with your physician.
You Will Need…
To apply for an MMJ card you need to have all the necessary documentation ready.
You need a photo that they can use on your card. This photograph must adhere to certain guidelines. It must:
- Be no more than 30 days old. This is so that it is an accurate representation of your physical appearance.
- Measure two inches by two inches.
- Feature a plain white background.
- Have you facing the camera with a neutral face. Any facial inflections can make it harder to identify you.
You will also need to submit a color copy of your Illinois State drivers license. If you don’t have a license then you can submit a copy of your State ID card or passport ID page.
You also need to provide proof of residency.
If you are sending a postal application you should make color photocopies of these pages. Do not submit the original forms of ID as you may not get them back.
You can also apply online. To do this you can make a copy of your IDs and submit it as a PDF or JPEG file. There is an online portal for uploading your application.
Finally, you also need to complete an MMJ card application form. It is a good idea to discuss this with your physician to ensure you complete it properly. Some physicians may complete the form for you.
It’s also a good idea to think about where you’re planning to get your medical weed. Some people grow their own weed. But most buy it from certified dispensaries.
If you’re going to use a dispensary, the state may ask you to tell them which one. Have a look into local or online dispensaries for more information.
Ok, so now you’ve got everything ready to get an MMJ card. It’s time to start the process. Here’s how to apply for medical weed.
1. Visit Your Doctor
You need medical approval to qualify for medical marijuana in Rockford.
If you already have a diagnosis, then visit your physician to discuss the treatment with them. They might want to discuss other treatment options. It’s important to talk these through with them.
They’ll be happier signing your certificate if you’re making an informed choice. After all, if a patient abuses their MMJ card it reflects poorly on the certifying doctor as well!
If you don’t already have an official diagnosis then you’ll need one. Make an appointment with your regular doctor.
Or you can get in touch with special clinics across America. These clinics focus on providing excellent treatment for conditions using medical marijuana. They will be able to guide you through the process.
Both regular physicians and medical marijuana specialists can sign your medical cannabis certificates. By signing they confirm that they medically consent to your use of medical weed.
If you are a caregiver applying for a minor, then you need two separate physicians to approve your application.
2. Submit Your Application
Your doctor will most likely submit the certificate on your behalf. So it’s your responsibility to get the rest of the documentation to the health department.
You can submit this online or in a hard copy by post. Not all mobile browsers support the website. So if you’re applying online do it from your computer.
It’s worth remembering that applying online might be quicker than using the mail. This means your application will submit immediately so you won’t add waiting time.
Just remember whenever you submit anything to keep a note of any reference numbers or email receipts. Use an email that you access regularly so you don’t miss any updates.
Hard copies of your application and certificate should go to the following address:
Illinois Department of Public Health
Division of Medical Cannabis
535 W. Jefferson Street
Springfield, IL 62761
You must not turn up to the office in person. The health department will turn away anyone who tries to apply in person. So it’s a waste of your time!
It’s also important to make sure the health department receives all the information in the correct time frame.
You can submit your application before you visit your doctor to sign the certificate. Once the health office receives your application you have 90 days to submit the certificate.
Your doctor will also have to show that you visited them in person within 90 days prior to you getting the certificate signed. So you have to plan ahead!
3. Pay Your Fees
For any first-time applicants, there is a registration fee. This depends on how long you plan to hold your card for. These fees are non-refundable.
You can hold an MMJ card for one, two or three years. This means you won’t have to renew them during this time. However, holding an MMJ card for longer is more expensive.
The registration fee for a one-year card is $100. For a two-year card, it is $200. Or for a three-year card, the fee is $250.
Anyone on Social Security Disability Income or Supplemental Security Income pays a reduced fee. These are 50% of the original price. So a one-year card costs $50, a two-year card costs $100 and a three-year card costs $125.
Caregivers’ ID cards also come with a registration fee but these are lower. A one-year card has a registration fee of $25. A two-year card is $50 or a three-year card is $75.
Waiting for Your Card
It can take some time for your MMJ card application’s approval to come through. This is because there are so many applicants!
So allow some time. It isn’t a speedy process and it can be a frustrating wait.
Plan ahead and bare this in mind when you make your application. An MMJ card is a great way to treat lots of conditions and it’s worth the wait.
Once the state medical center approves your application you will receive a receipt from them. This won’t be your proper card but it will allow you to buy medical weed from a dispensary.
Your receipt usually only authorizes you to buy from your chosen dispensary. This is why we suggested having a look at them before you apply! Your caregiver will also be able to use this dispensary.
The Bottom Line
So now you know everything about how to get medical marijuana in Illinois! If you think it could help you, don’t wait around.
And if you have any questions, feel free to get in touch. We’re here to help.