On August 12, 2019, changes to the Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Program became effective. The Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Program Act allows Advance Practice Nurses (APN) and Physician Assistants (PA) to complete a certification for a debilitating medical condition for qualifying patients. At this time, APNs and PAs cannot complete a certification. Please do not submit a physician certification at this time or the patient’s application may be denied.
There is significant work the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) must complete before these changes can be implemented. IDPH anticipates launching these provisions in September 2019. IDPH will offer training webinars for APNs and PAs to learn about the program and how to complete the certification for qualifying patients. Please watch for more information about upcoming webinars.
What is the process for completing a written physician certification?
All qualifying patients who apply for a medical cannabis registry identification card must have their debilitating medical condition certified by a physician once every three years. The physician must:
- Have a bona-fide physician-patient relationship with the qualifying patient. The bona-fide physician-patient relationship may not be limited to issuing a written certification for the patient or a consultation simply for that purpose.
- Have responsibility for the ongoing care and treatment of the qualifying patient's debilitating condition, provided that the ongoing treatment and care shall not be limited to or for the primary purpose of certifying a debilitating medical condition or providing a consultation solely for that purpose.
- Complete an in-person full assessment of the patient's medical history and current medical condition, including a personal physical examination prior to completing the physician certification. The assessment of the qualifying patient's current medical condition shall include, but not be limited to, symptoms, signs, and diagnostic testing related to the debilitating medical condition.
- Certify that the qualifying patient is under the physician's care, either for the qualifying patient's primary care or for his or her debilitating medical condition or symptoms of a debilitating medical condition.
Note – For patient application purposes, the Physician Certification is valid for 90 days from the date of the in-person medical examination.
How do I submit a physician certification for a qualifying patient?
The physician must complete the physician written certification document and sign it in blue ink. Give the completed, certification document to the patient and ask them to include a copy with their application for a registry identification card. Patients may apply on-line at https://medicalcannabispatients.illinois.gov
Does the physician provide the qualifying patient with a prescription specifying the dosage appropriate for medical cannabis use?
No. The physician written certification does not constitute a prescription for medical cannabis.
How much medical cannabis can a registered qualifying patient purchase?
A registered qualifying patient may purchase up to 2.5 ounces of medical cannabis during a 14-day period. This amount of medical cannabis, called the “adequate supply,” is defined in Section 10 of the Act. Purchases of medical cannabis can only be made at a licensed medical cannabis dispensary.
Can registered qualifying patients obtain an increase in their adequate supply?
The registered patient’s physician may submit a signed, written statement asserting that in the physician’s professional judgement, 2.5 ounces is an insufficient adequate supply to properly alleviate the patient’s debilitating medical condition or symptoms associated with the patient’s debilitating medical condition. The waiver form may be printed from the FORMS section of this web page. The waiver must be mailed by the physician and must be accompanied by a $25 check or money order from the patient. If the Department approves the waiver, the amount of medical cannabis recommended by the physician shall be noted on the registry identification card. If the physician submitting the waiver is not the physician who signed the certification which was submitted with the patient’s application, a physician certification must be completed and submitted with the waiver form.
Can the physician revoke or rescind the written certification for a registered qualifying patient?
The physician certification is valid for the duration of the three-year period of the medical cannabis registry identification card. The physician may revoke the patient’s physician certification if the patient no longer has a debilitating medical condition.
Can a physician charge for a physician written certification?
Qualifying patients do not need to pay a special fee to their physician for the physician written certification. The physician may accept payment for the fee associated with the personal physical examination required prior to issuing the written certification.
Does IDPH provide a list of medical providers who will certify patients for the medical cannabis program?
No. In order for a physician to certify a qualifying patient for medical cannabis, there must be a bona fide physician-patient relationship. Qualifying patients should begin the application process by having a discussion with the physicians who treat their debilitating conditions and their primary care provider. IDPH will not maintain or publish a list of practitioners who issue physician certifications.