The State of Illinois has enacted the Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Pilot Program Act, overseen by the Illinois Department of Public Health, which allows for the use of medical cannabis by qualifying patients for treatment of specific qualifying medical conditions. Individuals who reside in DHS-funded residential settings are not excluded from participating in this pilot program. Individuals who have been recommended for this program by their personal physician, and accepted as a qualifying patient into this program after appropriate application is made, must abide by all regulations set forth within the Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Pilot Program Act (Public Act 098-0122). Some of these are discussed specifically below.

The Act allows for the naming of a designated caregiver that can be assigned to the qualifying patient who has been accepted into the pilot program. This designated caregiver is authorized, on the qualifying patient's behalf, to possess, obtain from a certified medical cannabis dispensary, and dispense and assist in the administration of cannabis or any cannabis infused product to the qualifying patient that has designated them as caregiver. A designated caregiver may only provide this service to one qualifying patient.

Qualifying patients and designated caregivers who are accepted into the program will be issued a registry identification card that must be carried at all times they have contact with medical cannabis.

Cannabis is defined as any substance which includes any part of the plant Cannabis Sativa. This includes the seeds, any resins extracted from the plant, any compound, salt, derivative, mixture, or preparation of the plant or its seeds. This includes tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and all other cannabinol derivatives, including the plants naturally occurring substances or those substances synthetically produced by chemical means.

Cannabis infused products, for the purposes of the Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Pilot Program, are defined as any foods, oils, ointments, or other products containing usable cannabis that are not smoked.

Qualifying patients and designated caregivers MAY NOT POSSESS cannabis:

  • In a school bus
  • On the grounds of any school
  • In a correctional facility
  • In any vehicle unless the medical cannabis is reasonably secured, sealed, in a tamper evident container, and is reasonably inaccessible while the car is moving
  • In a private residence that is used as a child care center or for similar social services

Qualifying patients and designated caregivers MAY NOT USE cannabis:

  • In a school bus
  • On the grounds of any school
  • In a correctional facility
  • In any vehicle or while operating a vehicle
  • In a private residence that is used as a child care center or for similar social services
  • Within close proximity to someone <18 years old
  • In a public place (other than a health care facility such as a hospital, nursing facility, hospice center or other long term care center)
  • Anywhere prohibited by the Smoke Free Illinois Act (if form of cannabis is smoked)
  • If either has a license to drive a school bus or has a commercial driver's license

Smoke Free Illinois Act

A DHS funded residential setting is considered a place of employment. According to the Smoke Free Illinois Act, no person may smoke within a place of employment or within 15 feet of any entrance to the place of employment. Any qualifying patient authorized to use medical cannabis (that is smoked) and residing in a DHS funded residential setting must abide by the guidelines set forth in the Smoke Free Illinois Act.

Other Applicable Laws and Regulations

This bulletin is not meant to be an exhaustive explanation of all implications of the Medical Cannabis Pilot Program. Providers and other interested parties should consult their attorneys for further clarification.

For full information regarding the Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Pilot Program Act, please visit the following website:  mcpp.illinois.gov


This advisory is intended to serve as information for a basic understanding of the subject included; it is not exhaustive. This advisory was not prepared by an attorney and should not be relied upon for legal advice. If you have concerns about anything contained in this advisory you should consult an attorney who can represent you.