HOW DOES MEDICAL MARIJUANA WORK?

 Crohn’s disease, Alzheimer’s, chronic or severe pain, nausea, seizures, multiple sclerosis—all are examples of debilitating medical conditions defined under the administrative rules of the Michigan Medical Marijuana Act.   If someone wishes to use marijuana as part of their medical treatment plan, then they must have a permit from the State of Michigan.

The application is located on the State of Michigan website for download and printing.  You will need medical approval from a doctor.  If your doctor will not sign the application as needed, then many dispensaries have doctors on hand who can perform the needed evaluation with the help of current medical records from the patient’s doctor.  The application fee (payable to the State of Michigan) is $100 per year or $25.00 if on Social Security Disability.  The fee is reduced for patients on Medicaid.

A patient has to name a caregiver on their application.  They can name themselves or anyone they choose as long as that person is 21 years old and has not been convicted of a felony involving illegal drugs.

Growing marijuana is very complicated and scientific.  It takes months to grow, harvest and dry plants.  It is important that a quality product is grown consistently and harvested at different times so it is frequently available to patients.  Growers learn by trial and error and by talking to other growers what works best.

Currently it is common practice for a caregiver to give their patient one free ounce each month.  After that, the patient has to pay for it.  Dispensaries are needed so caregivers can sell their overages to help cover expenses; otherwise, the patient would pay the caregiver outrageous prices for his/her medicine, and in many cases would not be able to afford it.  The dispensaries then sell it to patients who either do not have a caregiver or their caregiver is out of medicine.  This practice keeps the price of medical marijuana affordable for everyone.  Otherwise, the price would rival that of expensive prescription pills without the benefit of co-pays by insurance companies.

As one patient put it who has fibromyalgia, “Without medical marijuana I would be a zombie from taking so many prescription pain killers.  I would probably be addicted to them and have serious side effects.  Using medical marijuana instead enables me to function without pain, without being addicted, and has virtually no side effects.  I consider it a step above pain killers.”

HELPFUL LINKS: Convenience only; not an endorsement

Licensing and Regulatory Information

Permit Application

Michigan Medical Marijuana Association

Northern Michigan Compassion Club

QUICK FACTS ABOUT THE MEDICAL MARIJUANA ACT

  • You can have up to 12 marijuana plants at a time; however, you can never have more than 2.5 ounces of usable marijuana.
  • Any medical marijuana that a primary caregiver grows has to be in a locked, enclosed facility.  It has to be covered on the top, bottom and all sides.
  • A person cannot be denied custody or visitation of a minor child just because they have medical marijuana.  It has to be proven that there is unreasonable danger in order to have medical marijuana denied custody or visitation.
  • A person who has a medical marijuana card may only use one caregiver to get their marijuana from.
  • You can use any device you want to smoke your marijuana.
  • A person cannot be given any sort of criminal or civil penalty or disciplinary action involving professional licensing or anything like that just because they are in the presence of medical marijuana use or assisting a registered, qualified patient with administering marijuana.
  • If you are arrested for possession of marijuana and then get your medical marijuana card after the arrest, it does not have a retroactive ability.  You need to have the card before you are found in possession in order to be found not guilty of that offense.
  • A primary caregiver may assist no more than five qualified patients at a time.
  • A registered identification card is good for one year after issuance.  After that, the card needs to be renewed.
  • Having or applying for a registered identification card does not give the police any sort of probable cause or reasonable suspicion nor does it give them a reason to search you or your property based on just the fact that they applied or have a registered medical marijuana card.
  • If you do have a medical marijuana license, you are still not allowed to smoke it on public transportation or any public place, nor can you operate or navigate a vehicle, aircraft, or motorboat while under the influence of marijuana.
  • You can’t undertake any task while under the influence of marijuana if being under the influence would be evidence of professional malpractice.
  • The patient and caregiver cards are totally CONFIDENTIAL.
  • You are still not allowed to possess marijuana on a school bus or on any preschool, primary or secondary school.
  • In order to be issued a valid medical marijuana card, it has to be shown that the doctor who qualified you did review all of your medical files and did give you some sort of physical exam.
  • A person cannot be a primary caregiver if they have a felony conviction involving illegal drugs.
  • A registered primary caregiver can receive compensation for the costs associated with assisting for the medical marijuana; however, this does not count as a sale of a controlled substance under state law.
  • The Michigan Medical Marijuana Program information is confidential and is not subject to disclosure in any form or manner.

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