Medical Marijuana (MMJ) in Illinois: The Process For Getting an MMJ Card in Rockford Il.
Article reviewed by James Samuel, MD.
The fight to bring people access to medical marijuana has been going on since 1996. It is now legal in dozens of states across America. And it’s a big hit!
There are almost 146,000 patients using medical marijuana in Illinois alone as of November 2020.
But how to get medical marijuana (MMJ) in Illinois isn’t as simple as popping in to see the doctor. You need an MMJ card.
So how do you get your hands on one?
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 cannabis 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.
For a complete list of conditions, check out our Illinois medical cannabis page.
The start of medical marijuana in Illinois really began in September 2014. This is when the state began accepting applications from patients, vendors, and growers.
The law also allows registered dispensaries throughout the state. These dispensaries can sell medical weed to anyone with an active MMJ card. They started selling weed in November 2014.
In January 2020, the state began selling cannabis for adult use. While some may think a medical cannabis card is no longer necessary, there are indeed special benefits to being a registered medical marijuana patient in Illinois.
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 date and expiry date. 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.
And if you are looking for guidance on how to use medical cannabis for your specific situation, please feel free to get in touch with us at the Compassionate Clinics of America at any of our locations.
How Do You Qualify For the Use of Medical Cannabis in Rockford IL?
Illinois uses MMJ cards to regulate medical 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 52 conditions on the approved list. Some of these conditions 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, such as migraines, chronic pain and more.
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 driver’s 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 our physicians to ensure you complete it properly. Our physicians can also complete the form for you.
It’s also a good idea to think about where you’re planning to get your medical cannabis. Some people grow their own. 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 a medical card.
1. Visit Our Doctors
You need medical approval to qualify for medical marijuana in Rockford.
If you already have a diagnosis, then visit our physicians to discuss the treatment with them.
If you don’t already have an official diagnosis then you’ll need one. Make an appointment with our doctor to begin the process by getting in touch with our clinics in Illinois where we focus on providing excellent treatment for conditions using medical marijuana. We will be able to guide you through the process.
We can certify your medical cannabis diagnosis, and card.
If you are a caregiver applying for a minor, then you will need two separate physicians to approve your application.
2. Submit Your Application
It’s your responsibility to get the rest of the documentation to the health department, although we can help you take care of the process at your convenience.
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 is now the standard way to apply.
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.
The health department will turn away anyone who tries to apply in person.
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 our doctor to sign the certificate. Once the health office receives your application you have 90 days to submit the certificate.
Our doctors 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
As of 2020, it is much easier to obtain a cannabis card. It no longer takes 90 days, 60 days or even 30 days. We can get you certified the same day, and via telemedicine at any of our convenient locations.
You’ll receive a provisional card until your official one arrives in the mail.
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.