The Illinois Medical Cannabis Pilot Program will be turning 1 year old on November 9, 2016. Like any 1 year old, it has experienced growing pains, but a lot of good work has been accomplished for the benefit of the 10,000 patients now on its rolls. As the anniversary approaches, this is the first renewal period for medical cannabis card holders. It has been confusing, unclear and anxiety provoking for patients trying to negotiate the renewal process. Understandably, they do not want a disruption in their access to medical cannabis. It is also a new situation for the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) whose staff must process the renewals and issue new cards.
Here’s what the folks at the IDPH are recommending:
Do NOT send your extension paperwork certified mail. Doing so requires the signature of a postal worker who then sends it to the IDPH. This will add significant time to its trip through the postal system. They are overwhelmed with the number of extensions they have received. But, they want to assure all patients that they are doing everything possible to make sure that those whose cards expire next month do receive their new cards before their expiration date.
Here’s what else you need to know about renewals:
If the IDPH does not receive your request to extend your registry card at least 10 days before your registry identification card expires, you will need to complete a new application to participate in the program, including obtaining a physician certification and a fingerprint background check.
At the end of each three-year period, you will be required to renew your registry identification card and submit new documentation, including, but not limited to a physician certification, fingerprint background check, photo, etc.
Caregiver information is included on the extension form. If you have a caregiver, you must extend their registry card at the same time as yours. You may change your caregiver. You must submit a new caregiver application, with a photo, fingerprints and supporting documents listed on the application. Your caregiver will not be allowed to accompany you or purchase medicine until their application has been received and approved.
With time, all the kinks should be worked out and the renewal process should become much simpler. Kudos to all the medical cannabis patients who have weathered all the obstacles and persevered to successfully negotiate the renewal process.