Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Program
On August 12, 2019, changes to the Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Program became effective. The Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Program Act is a permanent program and the “pilot” designation has been removed. While some provisions will become effective immediately, there is significant work the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) must complete before all the changes can be implemented. Some of the requirements affect other state programs, databases and IT systems and these changes will require additional time to ensure they are completed correctly.
The information below explains the changes to the Medical Cannabis Patient Program (MCPP) and the Opioid Alternative Pilot Program (OAPP) and the proposed start dates.
New debilitating medical conditions for the Medical Cannabis Patient Program (MCPP)
- Chronic pain
- Irritable bowel syndrome
- Anorexia nervosa
- Ehlers-Danlos syndrome
- Neuro-Bechet’s autoimmune disease
- Polycystic kidney disease (PKD)
- Superior canal dehiscence syndrome
- Ulcerative colitis
The physician certification has been updated on the IDPH website to include these conditions. Qualifying patients who have these debilitating medical conditions may begin submitting applications beginning August 12, 2019.
Persons under 21 years of age are prohibited from purchasing smokable medical cannabis, including vaping products, paraphernalia and associated accessories – effective immediately
Note: Licensed medical cannabis dispensaries will be prompted to verify the registered patient’s age at the time of purchase.
Advanced Practice Nurses and Physician Assistants may complete certifications for qualifying MCPP and Opioid Alternative Pilot Program (OAPP) patients – Effective September 30, 2019
Veterans with a current prescription for an opioid who are receiving medical services at VA medical facilities shall be eligible to register for the OAPP - Effective September 30, 2019
Allow registered MCPP patients to register up to three (3) designated caregivers - launch date to be determined
Allow “immediate” dispensary changes for registered MCPP patients - launch date to be determined
Allow a waiver of the allowable amount of medical cannabis for veterans who receive medical services at VA medical facilities - A qualifying patient who is a veteran receiving medical care at a VA health care facility may establish a bona-fide relationship with a non-VA physician to obtain a waiver to increase the adequate supply of medical cannabis for a 14-day period. The physician shall complete a written certification, including an in-person office visit within 90-days of the date of the waiver submission. Both the written certification and the waiver submission shall be submitted to the Department along with the required fee. The required forms may be viewed at http://dph.illinois.gov/topics-services/prevention-wellness/medical-cannabis/physician-information - effective immediately
Allow registered MCPP patients to grow up to five (5) cannabis plants for personal consumption – effective January 1, 2020
Please watch this webpage or check the Illinois Department of Public Health website www.dph.illinois.gov regularly for updates.
Provisional Access to MCPP
On February 1, 2019, IDPH began issuing provisional access registration cards to persons who apply on-line for the Medical Cannabis Patient Program https://medicalcannabispatients.illinois.gov . The provisional registration card allows the qualifying patient and designated caregiver, if applicable, to access a medical cannabis dispensary while the patient’s application is being processed. Patients who registered on-line December 1, 2018 through January 31, 2018 also received a provisional registration card. For more information about provisional access to MCPP click here.
Opioid Alternative Pilot Program (OAPP)
On January 31, 2019, IDPH successfully launched the Opioid Alternative Pilot Program (OAPP). The OAPP, which is part of the Medical Cannabis Pilot Program (MCPP), was created through the Alternative to Opioids Act of 2018. The OAPP allows access to medical cannabis for individuals who have or could receive a prescription for opioids as certified by a physician licensed in Illinois. The Opioid Alternative Pilot Program was designed to provide people with an option to manage their pain. Opioids can be highly addictive in a very short period of time and this program offers qualifying individuals an alternative. For more information about the OAPP, click here.
IDPH does not offer onsite assistance, but we are able to answer your questions or process your requests via email. Information about the:
Medical Cannabis Program representatives are available by phone at 1-855-636-3688 Monday through Friday, 9:00 AM to 4:00 PM