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Terminal Illness and Medical Cannabis

The application process for Terminal Illness

The recent passage of IL Senate Bill 10 added 2 more qualifying conditions to the 39 already existing conditions of the Illinois Medical Cannabis Pilot Program (MCPP). One of those conditions is Terminal Illness. This includes adults and persons under age 18 who are residents of Illinois who have been given a diagnosis of 6 months or less to live.

The application process is unique for terminal illness. Here’s what you need to know:

1. The application process must be done through the mail; no online application process is available. Although the application, itself, is available online, it must be printed out and mailed to the Illinois Department of Public Health. A paper application is also available upon request. Here is the link to the application.

2. There is no application fee

3. The application process is expedited; from the time the application is received, it should take about 2 weeks to get your medical cannabis card.

4. The application process is streamlined so that the terminally ill patient can quickly get access to medicine. This includes selection of a dispensary, which in all other cases is made separately and after receipt of the medical cannabis card. Here is the link to the listing of dispensaries.

5. The medical cannabis card is valid for 6 months unless the status of the patient is no longer terminal. If that is the case, after the card expires, the patient can apply for a 3 year card.

6. Photographs of both the patient and caregiver are required with strict rules as to what is acceptable. Please note that no photograph is required for patients under 18.
a. The photo must be taken within the past 6 months
b. It must be taken against a plain white or off-white background
c. In natural color
d. It must be a full-faced view facing the camera with a neutral facial expression and both eyes open
e. It must measure at least 2″ x 2″

7. Your physician must sign the confirmation of diagnosis of terminal illness on a form in blue ink. The in-person physical exam must take place within 90 days of submitting the application.

You may not apply for a card if the following pertains to you:
1. You hold a school bus permit or Commercial Driver’s License
2. You are an active duty law enforcement officer, correctional officer, correctional probation officer, or firefighter.

8. If you are a Veteran, receiving care through a VA facility, there is a separate form. You do not need to provide the physician written certification on page 3, but you must provide the following:

a. You must submit a copy of your DD-214 showing dates of service and character of service (type of discharge)
b. You must provide a copy of your medical records from the VA facility for the last 12 months
c. You must complete the Attestation of Terminal Illness (page 6 of the application package). This form must be notarized

While designating a caregiver is not mandatory, it is highly recommended that you do so when you first apply to the program.

Medical cannabis can alleviate many symptoms associated with terminal illness such as pain, depression, digestive discomfort, nausea and loss of appetite. While treating these symptoms will not cure terminal illness, it can make patients feel more comfortable.

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