Illinois Medical Cannabis: 6 Things You Need to Know Before Applying

Major changes have been made in Illinois regarding medicinal marijuana. Former Governor Pat Quinn signed the Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Pilot Program Act in early August of 2013. Following this, it took a signature from new Governor Bruce Rauner on the rules for growers and dispensers and 17 months for patients to qualify for the use of medical cannabis.

As of early August 2015, more than 23,700 people had started applications for the use of medicinal marijuana and a total of 2,800 patients had been approved. The Illinois Department of Public Health also announced there were 10 approved applications for children under the age of 18.

Here are six tips for people applying for the Illinois medical marijuana program from the Illinois Department of Public Health:

10. Physician Written Certification Form - Meet with your physician to discuss the use of medical cannabis for the treatment of your condition. This is an important first step in the application process. Your doctor must complete and mail this form to the Department. Your appointment must be within 90 days of submitting your application to the Department.

9. Complete and sign application - Fill in all parts of the application, choose a medical cannabis dispensing organization and sign the last page. You may also fill out the optional demographic information. If you do not want to designate a caregiver, don't fill out that section of the application.

8. Application Fee - Non-refundable fee of $100 or reduced fee of $50 for veterans or persons enrolled in federal Social Security Disability Income (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) disability program. Veterans, include a copy of your DD214. SSDI/SSI recipients, include a copy of your benefit verification letter, dated within the last year.

7. Photograph - Do not send in a selfie! Provide a 2x2 inch passport-sized photo. Double check - are you by yourself, facing the camera, is your full face showing? Take the picture against a plain, white backdrop with absolutely nothing in the background or visit a local passport photo service.

6. Proof of residency - You will need two items that prove you live in Illinois. The addresses on each of the documents must match the address on your application. Bank statements, utility bills, state ID, driver's license and voter ID cards are all acceptable. Check the application for a full list.

5. Proof of age and identity - Send us a copy of a valid, unexpired government-issued photo ID.

To see four more rules and regulations, including specific guidance for veterans, check out Reboot Illinois.

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