Michigan is a state known for previously trying to circumvent the federal laws against marijuana. In the early 1970s, Ann Arbor enacted some of the most lenient laws on cannabis possession in the U.S. Despite a less than draconian stance against the herb, the state of Michigan didn’t legalize medical marijuana until 2008 as the Michigan Compassionate Care initiative was approved by state voters.
In 2018, the state of Michigan became the tenth to legalize marijuana recreationally as 56% of voters approved Proposal 1. At this point, you may be wondering: “Why bother getting an MMJ card if I can buy 2.5 ounces without it?” While weed is technically recreationally legal in the state, residents of Michigan still can’t actually purchase it.
The state’s Marijuana Regulatory Agency won’t even start approving business licenses until December 2019, so you probably won’t be able to get recreational weed until some time in 2020. Until then, the only way you’ll get weed in Michigan is to apply for a medical marijuana card. This guide shows you how.
How to Get a Medical Marijuana Card in Michigan?
Despite what you may have read elsewhere, the only way to get a valid MMJ card in Michigan is by applying via the official state Medical Marijuana Program. The Bureau of Medical Marijuana Regulation (BMMR), part of the Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA), is responsible for administering all aspects of MMJ card registration. Steer clear of any third-party vendors who claim they can help you out.
Keep reading for a step-by-step guide to getting a medical marijuana card in Michigan. As you’ll see, it is an easier process than in many states.
Step 1 – Get Your Medical Records
You must have one of the approved qualifying conditions to be eligible for an MMJ card in Michigan. We provide a full list later on. In general, physicians in Michigan are becoming more supportive of MMJ patients, but you still need to prove your case. Obtaining your medical records is a crucial part of the process.
Bear in mind that the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 gives you the legal right to view and obtain your medical records.
Therefore, you can ask your primary care physician for these records without disclosing the reason. You’ll need to complete a patient access request and authorization form. After the doctor’s office receives it, you’ll get your records in 10 business days or less.
Step 2 – Download the Official Application and Set an Appointment with a Doctor
The first step to applying for a medical marijuana card in the state of Michigan is to download and print the official MMMP Application Packet. Once you have the application, you’ll need to schedule an appointment with a currently licensed/practicing doctor in the state of Michigan to see whether or not you have a condition that qualifies you for treatment with medical marijuana (see list of qualifying conditions below).
The Physician Certification Form is on page three. The doctor you visit will need to complete this section of the form. Please note that there is no state-approved list of recommended providers. As a result, you need to perform research to ensure you find a ‘marijuana-friendly’ doctor. Also, all MMJ patients in Michigan must be at least 18 years of age, and a resident of the state.
Step 3 – Go to Your Appointment to Gain the Physician’s Approval
This is the most uncomfortable step for many patients. Once you are in the room for your consultation, the doctor will perform a standard exam, look at your medical records, and discuss the suitability of marijuana as a treatment for your condition. It is a good idea to ask questions to find out how medical cannabis works and the possible strains best suited to your needs.
If you are deemed eligible, the doctor or a member of staff will explain the state’s medical marijuana rules and the physician will complete the requisite paperwork.
Step 4 – Complete the Application Packet and Gather Supplemental Documents
Once you receive approval, it is time to complete the rest of the application. You can provide proof of your residency in one of the following ways:
- A valid Michigan driver’s license
- A personal ID card from the state of MI
- A signed MI voter registration card
A clear and legible copy of one of the above forms MUST be mailed in with the application packet to be considered for approval.
Also, be aware that a copy of a voter registration card without a signature is not valid. If you submit your proof of residency via voter registration, you will need to include additional proof of identity via a government-issued document that includes your name and birth (if you have any questions about which type of documents qualify, call 517-284-6400 or e-mail BHP-MMMPINFO@michigan.gov).
In addition to the proof of residency, all completed applications must include the requisite fee.
*Please be aware that the process of how to apply for medical marijuana in Michigan is different for individuals under the age of 18. To apply for medical marijuana in Michigan as a minor, please refer to this form.
Also, if you need your official caregiver to apply on your behalf, be advised that the process is somewhat different (refer to the state’s Frequently Asked Question page on caregiver registry).
Step 5 – Submit the Application Packet and Wait for Approval
Once you have your payment and all of your documents completed and in order, you are then ready to mail the Application Packet to the MMMP program for reviewal. You have the option of sending a traditional paper application or sign up online. If you choose the latter, you need to set up an account with LARA.
If you plan to send your application by mail, submit everything (including application packet, physician recommendation form, payment, and proof of residency) to the following address:
Michigan Medical Marihuana Program
PO Box 30083
Lansing, MI 48909
If the application was properly submitted, Michigan is required by law to notify you within 15 business days whether it was accepted or rejected. (If you submitted your application more than six weeks ago and have not received your registry ID card, you can inquire by calling 517-284-6400 and selecting option #4.)
In May 2019, LARA started offering same-day registration, which will hopefully make life much easier for applicants. If you need any help completing your Patient Only Registry Card form, LARA has created an easy step-by-step guide.
Once you receive your MMJ card, you are allowed to visit a Michigan dispensary and choose from a wide array of weed-related products including oils, marijuana flower, concentrates, topicals, and edibles. We provide you with a list of the state’s purchasing laws a little later on.
What Are the Medical Marijuana Costs Involved?
The Michigan Registry Patient fee is $60. Caregiver Fees are priced at $25. The majority of clinics have a consultation fee of $200, and it costs $150 to renew your card. Fortunately, it is only necessary to do so once every three years.
What Conditions Are Eligible to Receive a Medical Marijuana Card?
The Michigan Medical Marihuana Act allows patients suffering from the following conditions to apply for an MMJ card and buy cannabis products from operating dispensaries. Please note that the conditions are divided into three categories, and you must be diagnosed with at least one of them in any category:
- Hepatitis C
- Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis
- Crohn’s disease
- Agitation of Alzheimer’s disease
- Nail patella
Chronic or debilitating medical conditions are classified as Category B conditions:
- Cachexia or wasting syndrome
- Severe and chronic pain
- Severe nausea
- Seizures, including characteristics of epilepsy
- Severe and persistent muscle spasms, including characteristics of multiple sclerosis
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Inflammatory Bowel Disease
- Parkinson’s disease
- Tourette’s Syndrome
- Chronic pain
- Cerebral palsy
- Ulcerative colitis
- Spinal cord injury
What Are Approved Medical Marijuana Patients Entitled To?
The recreational legalization of weed in Michigan has muddied the waters a little. Certified MMJ patients at present are allowed to possess up to an ounce of marijuana-infused product. From December 6, 2019, however, adults aged 21+ will be allowed to possess up to 2.5 ounces of weed regardless of their medical status. Patients aged 18-21 will remain bound by the one-ounce limit.
However, MMJ patients are also allowed up to 16 ounces of ‘marijuana-infused product in a solid form,’ 7 grams of ‘marijuana-infused product in a gaseous form,’ and 36 fluid ounces of ‘marijuana-infused product in a liquid form.’ Patients and primary caregivers are allowed to grow and possess up to 12 marijuana plants at a time, as long as the plants are kept in a locked, enclosed space.
Also, if you decide you want to cultivate and grow your own medicine, you will need to declare as such on the application form. Beware, however, that there is a distinction between personal cultivation and commercial cultivation. Personal cultivation allows for an aforementioned 12 plants, while commercial permits are divided into three classes:
- Class A – Permits you to grow a maximum of 500 plants
- Class B – Permits you to grow a maximum of 1000 plants
- Class C – Permits you to grow a maximum of 1500 plants
How to Renew Your Medical Marijuana Card in Michigan?
The process for renewing a medical marijuana card in Michigan is similar to those applying for the first time. To renew your card, you are required to submit an application 60 days prior to the expiration of your card. All cards are processed in the order they are received by the state, though you will typically receive your renewal in 2-3 weeks.
Related Article: 3 Ways to Get a Medical Marijuana Card Online (in Minutes)
Can I Use Medical Marijuana Anywhere in Michigan?
Even with a valid medical marijuana card, it is prohibited to smoke marijuana in public or while operating a vehicle. Also, it is always important to remember that if smoking in public, it may be assumed that you are using it for recreational use, which is illegal on a federal level.
It is advised to consume your medicine responsibly, in the safety of your home or a private residence.
Also, the laws of Michigan require you to store your marijuana in a secure, locked place. It is illegal to travel across state lines with cannabis, even if you have a valid Michigan Registration ID card.
What Are the Current Michigan Laws?
Without a valid MMJ card, marijuana laws in Michigan used to be quite harsh. In past years, those caught with illegal weed of any amount were prone to receiving a misdemeanor criminal charge, and/or facing jail time of up to 1 year and a fine of $2,000. If caught using or possessing weed in a public park, the charge was a felony with a maximum jail sentence of 2 years – no matter the amount of possession.
Furthermore, the penalties for the illegal sale and distribution of marijuana in Michigan were even more severe; distribution of any amount of weed without remuneration (i.e. even if you don’t get paid for the product), was a misdemeanor charge with a potential 1-year jail sentence.
Also, the sale of any amount of weed less than 5 kg was a felony charge with a potential jail sentence of 4 years and a maximum fine of $20,000. For amounts over 5 kg, the potential incarceration time is 15 years with a maximum fine of $10,000,000. However, with the passing of Proposal 1 in November 2018, the possession and use of marijuana is now legal for Michigan residents over the age of 21.
Will Marijuana Be Available Everywhere in Michigan?
Not exactly. Local municipalities will still have the option to ban or restrict the use and sale of cannabis, so residents of some cities/regions within the state may not have legal access.
If you are suffering from a medical condition and want to treat with marijuana in Michigan, make sure you apply for a medical marijuana card.
Other Important FAQ on the Use of Medical Marijuana in Michigan
Can I Consume Medical Cannabis in My Car?
No. Your car is considered a public place, so using cannabis there is prohibited
Where Can I Buy Medical Marijuana in Michigan?
There are dozens of operating medical marijuana dispensaries throughout Michigan that serve the 284,000 MMJ patients in the state. At the time of writing, there are over 110 MMJ dispensaries in Michigan. Detroit has the most with 23; Ann Arbor has 10, Bay City, Ypsilanti, Flint, and Lansing have 7 apiece, while Jackson has 6.
Can I Take My Meds from Michigan to a Different State?
No. Medical marijuana patients may face federal and local charges of transporting marijuana if they decide to cross state lines with it. This is true even if the states between which they are traveling allow medical marijuana.
Should you need to travel from state to state with your marijuana, it would be best to contact the state’s Bureau of Health to understand the specific laws of the state, to ensure you are not risking arrest.
What Are the Rules About Caregivers?
A caregiver must be aged 21+, and must never have been convicted of a drug-related or violent felony. Also, a primary caregiver must not have committed any felony in the last 10 years. A caregiver is allowed up to five patients at a time and is allowed to grow weed on their behalf.
How Much Should I Consume in Michigan?
Please note, we are not physicians or doctors, and therefore you should always consult with a professional before using medical marijuana.
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