Reasons to get an Illinois medical cannabis card

If you live in Illinois (or neighboring states), you’re probably celebrating the state’s legalization of recreational weed. But if you qualify for Illinois’ Medical Cannabis Patient Program, you have extra reasons to celebrate — and move forward with getting your medical card now.

It’s been a busy summer in Illinois. Along with the passage of recreational sales, the state’s expanded Medical Cannabis Pilot Program became permanent. We know that getting your medical card now might seem like a waste but there a many perks of getting your medical card, from up to a 39% savings on cannabis purchases to home grows. Luckily for you, going medical in Illinois and reaping the benefits is easier than ever.

We have partnered with Illinois dispensary, NuMed, to help you easily obtain your medical card, just click here to get started. If you’re still unsure if a medical card is the move for you then you’re in the right place. We have the answers to your burning questions about medical marijuana in Illinois and card benefits:

Who qualifies for an Illinois medical cannabis registry card?

Qualifying for your medical card takes four simple basics:

  • Be an Illinois resident (yes, you’ll need proof)
  • Be at least 18 years old
  • Have a qualifying debilitating condition
  • Have a signed Physician Written Certification Form

The program makes a few important exceptions:

  • Veterans receiving VA care can skip the physician’s certification and qualify with their VA medical records.
  • People (including vets) who would normally be eligible for opioid prescriptions can qualify for medical cannabis under the Opioid Alternative Pilot Program (OAPP).
  • Patients with a terminal illness and life expectancy of six months or less can qualify for a terminal illness card.

If you have a Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) or school bus permit, you can’t get a card. Period. Active duty law enforcement officers, firefighters, correctional officers and correctional probation officers are excluded, too.

How do I get my Illinois physician certification?

Thanks to recent changes, physicians aren’t the only ones who can certify you for medical cannabis. The state’s phasing in advance practice registered nurses (APRN) and physician assistants (PA) to certify qualifying conditions, too.

Keep in mind you’ll need to see your provider — in person, for a full exam — to get certified. That certification is only good for 90 days, so follow through with your application right away.

If you need help connecting with a certifying provider, your local dispensary can help. Reach out to a NuMed patient advocate by phone or online to help you through the process.

If you’re qualifying for medical cannabis through OAPP, you’ll need to renew your physician’s certification every 90 days or get certified for a regular medical card. NuMed can help with that, too.

How do I apply and what does it cost?

The fastest, simplest way to get your medical cannabis card is to complete your application online. Fingerprints and background checks are history now.

Go electronic and you’ll have a temporary card and access to a licensed dispensary within 24 hours. Mail in a paper application and you’ll have to wait for your permanent card.

Application fees depend on the registration length:

  • One-year registry card – $100
  • Two-year registry card – $200
  • Three-year registry card – $250

Veterans and Social Security Disability Income (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) recipients pay half the standard fee. Rates for OAPP cards run $10 per 90-day registration period. Application for the six-month terminal illness card is free.

Need a hand with your application? NuMed patient consultants can walk you through the steps.

How do I choose or change my dispensary?

As part of your medical registration, you’ll choose a dispensary. Change your mind about where to shop, and it’s easy to switch. You can change your dispensary to NuMed or switch your NuMed location online or by phone. They’ll help get your change everywhere it needs to go.

What benefits do I get with medical over recreational?

You have four big reasons to get your Illinois medical cannabis card, even with recreational sales on tap:

  1. Sales Tax – With med and rec purchases, you’ll pay regular state and local sales taxes, which can run nearly 10%. Medical patients pay another 1%. But recreational buyers will pay an extra 10% to 25%, based on THC content and product type. That’s 20% to 35% total sales tax for recreational weed versus 11% for medical.
  2. Access to medical-grade products – Some cannabis products may be available only to medical patients, similar to prescription versus over-the-counter meds. With a medical card, you’ll have access to these potent cannabis medicines.
  3. Home grows – Effective January 1, 2020, registered Illinois medical patients can buy cannabis seeds and grow up to five plants for personal consumption. Home grows are still illegal for everyone else.
  4. Product priority – If the predicted weed shortage comes to pass, medical patients get first dibs in dispensaries that serve both recreational and medical customers.

Anything else I need to know?

Even with a medical registry card, keep these guidelines in mind:

  • When transporting cannabis in a vehicle, keep it secure, sealed and inaccessible at all times.
  • Never transport over state lines — by car, plane, train, feet or any other way you may think of.
  • Don’t consume in public, unless it’s a legally approved cannabis lounge or other space.
  • Remember, federal cannabis laws apply on federal land, even for medical card holders. That includes Illinois’ national parks.

It’s also a good idea to always keep your medical cannabis card handy, along with your state ID. If you ever get confronted by law enforcement, relax and remember: It isn’t a bust. It’s legal weed.


As of August 15, 2019, the following 52 debilitating conditions qualify for an Illinois medical cannabis registry card:

  • Autism
  • Agitation of Alzheimer’s disease
  • Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS)
  • Anorexia nervosa
  • Arnold-Chiari malformation
  • Cancer
  • Cachexia/wasting syndrome
  • Causalgia
  • Chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyneuropathy
  • Chronic pain
  • Crohn’s disease
  • CRPS (complex regional pain syndrome Type II)
  • Dystonia
  • Ehlers-Danlos syndrome
  • Fibrous Dysplasia
  • Glaucoma
  • Hepatitis C
  • Hydrocephalus
  • Hydromyelia
  • Interstitial cystitis
  • Irritable bowel syndrome
  • Lupus
  • Migraines
  • Multiple Sclerosis
  • Muscular Dystrophy
  • Myasthenia Gravis
  • Myoclonus
  • Nail-patella syndrome
  • Neuro-Bechet’s autoimmune disease
  • Neurofibromatosis
  • Neuropathy
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Polycystic kidney disease (PKD)
  • Post-Concussion Syndrome
  • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
  • Reflex sympathetic dystrophy
  • Residual limb pain
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Seizures (including those characteristic of Epilepsy)
  • Severe fibromyalgia
  • Sjogren’s syndrome
  • Spinal cord disease (including but not limited to arachnoiditis)
  • Spinal cord injury (damage to the nervous tissue of the spinal cord with objective neurological indication of intractable spasticity)
  • Spinocerebellar ataxia
  • Superior canal dehiscence syndrome
  • Syringomyelia
  • Tarlov cysts
  • Tourette syndrome
  • Traumatic brain injury
  • Ulcerative colitis


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