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. It happened when state voters approved the Michigan Compassionate Care initiative.
In 2018, the state of Michigan became the tenth to legalize marijuana recreationally as 56% of voters approved Proposal 1. At this point, you are probably wondering: “Why get 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 purchase it.
The state’s Marijuana Regulatory Agency was slow to get moving. Finally, the adult-use sale of cannabis in Michigan began in December 2019. Until then, the only way you could get pot in Michigan was to apply for a medical marijuana card. This guide shows you how. Whether it is worth proceeding with depends on a few factors. MMJ cardholders still get cheaper cannabis, for example.
How to Get a Medical Marijuana Card in Michigan?
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) is responsible for administering all aspects of MMJ card registration. The BMMR is part of the Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA). 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 a more straightforward process than in many states.
Step 1 – Get Your Medical Records
You must have one of the approved qualifying conditions to claim eligibility for an MMJ card in Michigan. We will provide a full list later on. In general, physicians in Michigan are becoming more supportive of MMJ patients. However, 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 (HIPPA) 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 is to download and print the official MMMP Application Packet. Next, you’ll need to schedule an appointment with a currently licensed/practicing doctor in the state of Michigan. There, you can see whether or not you have a condition that qualifies you for treatment with medical marijuana. See the 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 must perform research to ensure you find a ‘marijuana-friendly’ doctor. Also, only those aged 18+ and residents in the state can become MMJ patients in Michigan.
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. They also 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. Then, 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
Also, be aware that a copy of a voter registration card without a signature is not valid. Submitting your proof of residency via voter registration? If so, you need to include additional evidence of identity via a government-issued document. It must include your name and date of birth. If you have any questions about which type of documents qualify, call 517-284-6400 or e-mail BHP-MMMPINFO@michigan.gov.
A clear and legible copy of one of the above forms MUST be mailed in with the application packet to receive approval consideration.
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 minors. 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, the process is somewhat different. Refer to the state’s Frequently Asked Question page on the caregiver registry.
Step 5 – Submit the Application Packet and Wait for Approval
Now you can mail the Application Packet to the MMMP program for review. You have the option of sending a traditional paper application or signing 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 to the following address:
Michigan Medical Marihuana Program
PO Box 30083
Lansing, MI 48909
‘Everything’ includes the application packet, physician recommendation form, payment, and proof of residency.
If you correctly apply, the state must notify you within 15 business days whether it was accepted or rejected. Did you submit your application more than six weeks ago and have not yet received your registry ID card? If so, 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. 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 $40. There are no longer any caregiver fees. 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 two years.
What Conditions Are Eligible to Receive a Medical Marijuana Card?
Patients suffering from the following conditions can apply for an MMJ card. Once approved, they can buy cannabis products from operating dispensaries. Please note that there are three conditions ‘categories.’ Eligibility depends on diagnosis in at least one of them:
- Hepatitis C
- Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis
- Crohn’s disease
- Agitation of Alzheimer’s disease
- Nail patella
Chronic or debilitating medical conditions are Category B:
- 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 products. A legislative update in December 2019 meant that adults aged 21+ were able to possess up to 2.5 ounces of weed regardless of their medical status. Patients aged 18-21 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.’ They also get up to 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 can grow and possess up to 12 marijuana plants at a time. This is as long as the plants are locked in an enclosed space.
Also, if you decide you want to cultivate and grow your own medicine, you 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 12 plants, while there are three classes of commercial permits:
- A – Permits you to grow a maximum of 500 plants
- B – Permits you to grow a maximum of 1000 plants
- 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 restore your card, you can apply 90 days before the expiration of your card. The state processes all cards in the order they are received. In general, though, you will typically receive your renewal in 2-3 weeks.
Can I Use Medical Marijuana Anywhere in Michigan?
Even with a valid medical marijuana card, you can’t legally smoke marijuana in public or while operating a vehicle. If smoking in public, there is potentially an assumption of using it recreationally, which is illegal on a federal level.
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 were quite harsh. In the past, those caught with illegal weed of any amount could receive a misdemeanor criminal charge. Possible penalties included 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. There was a maximum jail sentence of 2 years, no matter the amount in question.
Furthermore, the penalties for the illegal sale and distribution of marijuana in Michigan were even more severe. The distribution of any amount of weed without remuneration 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. Conviction carried a potential jail sentence of 4 years and a maximum fine of $20,000. For amounts over 5 kilograms, the possible 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 are now legal for Michigan residents over the age of 21.
Will Marijuana Be Available Everywhere in Michigan?
Not exactly. Local municipalities still have the option to ban or restrict the use and sale of cannabis. Therefore, residents of some cities/regions within the state may not have legal access.
Suffering from a medical condition and want to treat it with marijuana in Michigan? Apply for an MMJ 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 well over 100 MMJ dispensaries in Michigan. Detroit has the most with 33 while Ann Arbor has 11. Bay City has 10, while Flint has 9.
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 cross state lines with it. This is true even if the states between which they are traveling allow medical marijuana.
Do you need to travel from state to state with your marijuana? If so, it is best to contact the state’s Bureau of Health to understand the specific laws of the state. This step could help to ensure you are not risking arrest.
What Are the Rules About Caregivers?
Only adults aged 21+ can become caregivers. They must also not have a conviction for 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 permitted to grow weed on their behalf.
How Much Should I Consume in Michigan?
Please note, we are not physicians or doctors. Therefore, you should always consult with a professional before using medical marijuana.
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