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Addressing Licensing Issues Related to Medical Marijuana in Illinois

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prescription for medical marijuana

The legalization of medical marijuana in Illinois has been a huge boon to patients seeking relief from various ailments. However, there are certain licensing requirements that must be fulfilled before any person is allowed to legally purchase and use cannabis. Doctors, nurses, or other medical providers who prescribe medical marijuana will need to be sure to abide by all applicable laws and regulations. Failure to do so could not only affect their ability to prescribe the necessary medications to patients, but it could even result in discipline to a medical license or other consequences.

Illinois Medical Cannabis Law

Under the Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Program Act, individuals looking to purchase medical marijuana must obtain a valid medical cannabis registry identification card from the Illinois Department of Public Health. This card will be issued only after an individual has satisfied all of the requirements set forth by the law and has provided the necessary documentation—including a valid driver's license or state ID card—to prove their identity. It should also be noted that patients who are under the age of 18 may still qualify for a medical cannabis card if they have consent from a parent or legal guardian.

To qualify for the use of medical marijuana, a patient must have been diagnosed with a qualifying debilitating condition. There are a number of conditions that qualify, including autism, HIV, cancer, Crohn's disease, irritable bowel syndrome, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson's disease, traumatic brain injuries, migraines, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), osteoarthritis, and chronic pain.

Physician Certification

When applying for a medical cannabis ID card, patients will be required to provide certification from a health care provider. Doctors, advance practice registered nurses with full practice authority, advance practice nurses, and physician assistants may provide certifications for patients. Before doing so, they must be licensed to practice medicine in Illinois, and they must register with the Illinois Cannabis Tracking System.

There are certain requirements that must also be met when certifying patients for the use of medical marijuana. A provider must have an ongoing relationship with a patient, and this relationship must not be limited to consulting with a patient solely for the purpose of providing certification for medical marijuana use. The provider must be responsible for providing ongoing treatment for the debilitating condition that will allow the patient to qualify for the use of medical cannabis. A full, in-person physical examination and assessment of a patient must be performed that considers a patient's medical history and their current condition.

Issues Medical Providers Should Be Aware of

Doctors, nurses, and other providers should be sure to avoid prohibited activities when certifying patients for medical marijuana use. Providers who are accused of committing these violations may face investigations, they may be subject to discipline to their medical licenses. Prohibited activities include:

  • Accepting payments from patients (other than standard fees for medical examinations) in return for issuing medical marijuana certifications.

  • Accepting payments from medical marijuana providers such as dispensaries or cultivation centers in return for patient referrals.

  • Splitting fees with dispensaries or other medical cannabis organizations in return for referrals.

  • Offering discounts to patients who use certain dispensaries.

  • Conducting medical examinations of patients at dispensaries or other locations where medical marijuana is sold.

  • Investing or holding an ownership interest in a dispensary or cultivation center while also certifying patients for the use of medical cannabis.

  • Referring patients to a specific dispensary.

  • Advertising medical services at a dispensary or cultivation center.

Contact Our Illinois Medical License Defense Lawyers for Medical Marijuana

At The Law Offices of Joseph J. Bogdan, Inc., we work with medical providers to address issues that may affect their licenses. We can help respond to accusations of violations related to medical marijuana, and we can work to defend providers against disciplinary action that could affect their careers. To learn more about how we can assist with these matters, contact our Illinois medical marijuana attorneys at 630-310-1267 and arrange a free consultation.


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