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Illinois Medical Marijuana Law

Illinois has become the 20th state to legalize medical marijuana. The government recognized cannabis’s therapeutic benefits for chronic medical problems and passed cannabis laws to make the medication available to state residents.

Illinoisans have embraced cannabis therapy as their understanding of its medical value has developed and social standards have changed. The state government has responded by increasing patient access, eliminating superfluous application criteria, and establishing broader eligibility for cannabis-based treatment.

Marijuana is still illegal under federal law, so the state-by-state evolution of marijuana legislation has raised some questions. While Illinois has decriminalized cannabis possession and begun selling recreational marijuana products, it has maintained its medical cannabis program.

Understanding the legal distinctions between medical and recreational usage can help you manage your medical condition by gaining access to the items that qualifying patients are entitled to under state legislation.

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Illinois Medical Marijuana Law History

The Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Pilot Program Act was passed in Illinois in 2013, establishing the Medical Cannabis Registry Program which is now managed by the Illinois Department of Public Health.

The first Illinois state cannabis law established growing, production, and retail regulations to ensure the safety and efficacy of all cannabis sold to Illinois consumers. The state mandates that all cannabis sold at dispensaries be grown in Illinois.

Patients quickly embraced marijuana as an alternative treatment after that framework was developed and sales began. As a result, significant changes have been made to the state’s cannabis legislation since.

Medical cannabis patients were fingerprinted and had their backgrounds checked when they applied for MMJ cards under the original legislation. Based on the program’s effectiveness, the state simplified the application procedure and eliminated the background check and fingerprint requirements in 2018. Furthermore, the state later phased out printed cards in favor of electronic ones that patients may print at home.

The most recent major revision to the Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Program took effect in 2018. That year, legislators added 12 diseases to the state’s list of qualifying debilitating conditions, broadened access for veterans, and repealed the rule that patients must shop at just one dispensary.

Finally, according to a new law enacted in 2019, medicinal marijuana patients now have the ability to cultivate up to five cannabis plants of their own.

Marijuana Possession Laws in Illinois

Recreational cannabis will be legal in Illinois for adults over the age of 21 beginning January 1, 2020. Residents who do not have marijuana cards are permitted to possess up to 30 grams of marijuana flower, 5 grams of cannabis concentrate, and 500 milligrams of THC in edibles. Non-residents are permitted to possess half the amount of each type of cannabis.

Every 14 days, medical marijuana cardholders may possess up to 2.5 ounces of usable cannabis. If your doctor determines that your condition is unmanageable with the 2.5-ounce limit, you can request a waiver to increase your possession limit.

Illinois Public Consumption Laws

If you own marijuana, you are permitted to consume it in your home. Renters are required to follow the terms of their lease. Marijuana use is prohibited in motor vehicles.

A “public place” in Illinois is defined as any location where you can be watched by others. You are not permitted to consume cannabis in public, near anybody under the age of 21, on school grounds, or in any other location where smoking tobacco is prohibited by Illinois law.

Illinois Cannabis DUI Laws

The state’s driving under the influence rules are stringent. In particular, Illinois makes no distinction between medical patients and recreational users. Anyone with a THC level of 5 nanograms per milliliter of blood or above is deemed over the limit and may face DUI charges.

When there is a suspicion of DUI, police look for slowed reaction times and bloodshot eyes during traffic stops.

Applying for an Illinois Medical Marijuana Card?

The application process for a cannabis identification card in Illinois may appear onerous due to the state’s shifting marijuana legislation, but it is actually pretty simple and can be performed. If you have a debilitating medical condition and have investigated cannabis as a treatment option, it is worthwhile to apply for a medical cannabis card.

Acquiring a marijuana card is as simple as obtaining a certificate from a registered doctor who is allowed to prescribe cannabis. The DPH will then require you to submit an application and relevant documentation to validate your identity and residency.

Illinois healthcare practitioners are not required to issue cannabis certifications. The state does not keep a roster of marijuana doctors and does not recommend patients to clinics.

Fortunately, the Sanctuary is well-versed in Illinois’ current marijuana legislation and has the expertise to assist you in perfecting your application. We can put you in touch with a certified physician who will examine your condition, explain the benefits of medical marijuana treatment, and issue you a certification.

Our helpful staff is always happy to answer your inquiries. If you contact us, we can set up an introductory session to discuss how we can help you get your card.

Frequently Asked Questions

In Illinois, recreational marijuana is legal for people over the age of 21. Cannabis products can be purchased and consumed by both residents and non-residents. The purchase and possession limitations for recreational marijuana are lower than those for medical marijuana.

Cardholders and their caregivers can buy candies, concentrates, cannabis flowers, topicals, vapes, pre-rolls, and tinctures. You can only purchase and possess up to 2.5 ounces of marijuana each 14-day period for personal use. If you’re a caregiver, the same limit applies for the cannabis you purchase for use by your authorized patient.

Medical cannabis products are available in a variety of strains, each with its own cannabinoid and terpene profile that affects the symptoms of medical conditions differently. The experts at your local dispensary can advise you on the best sort of cannabis for you.

You are not permitted to possess more than 2.5 ounces of marijuana in a 14-day period unless you have a DPH waiver saying that a physician has verified that you require more than 2.5 ounces of cannabis to manage your medical condition.

Possession of more than 5 marijuana plants is a felony, even for those who have a medical marijuana card. You are also not permitted to possess another patient’s medical marijuana.

Each 14-day period, you can only possess up to 2.5 ounces of cannabis.

No, Illinois does not recognize out-of-state marijuana credentials. Under Illinois’ adult-use regulations, visitors can purchase up to 15 grams of marijuana flower, 2.5 grams of cannabis concentrate, and 250 milligrams of THC in edibles.

Medical marijuana is legal in Arkansas, Georgia, Hawaii, Iowa, Maine, Michigan, Missouri, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Puerto Rico, Utah, and the District of Columbia for Illinois cardholders. Still, you are subject to the visiting patient policy of your destination state as well as any applicable possession laws.

No—applicants must certify that they have never been convicted of breaching state or federal controlled substance laws.