Michigan became a medical use state in 2008. However, the original legislation failed to provide for commercial production and sales of medical marijuana to licensed medical marijuana patients. Instead, the state opted for a “Caregiver/Patient” model that allowed licensed medical marijuana caregivers to grow a maximum of twelve (12) cannabis plants for each medical marijuana patient they served – limit of five (5) patients, not including the caregiver her/himself. The original legislation also allowed each patient to grow their own twelve (12) plants, if they did not designate a caregiver. However, the State of Michigan did not provide any direction on how medical marijuana patients could find caregivers, nor did it establish any requirements for product safety and testing.
Much has changed since 2008. The majority of US states and the District of Columbia now have medical marijuana laws in effect. If you live in Michigan, you have likely noticed a rise in cannabis industry news and in the number of dispensaries (“provisioning centers”). This is because the State of Michigan finally began accepting applications for commercial production and sales of medical marijuana and derivative products in late 2017. Until early 2018, all dispensaries and commercial-sized cannabis grow operations were operating illegally. The purpose of licensing these operations is to 1) assess fees and tax the sale of medical marijuana and derivative products, and 2) regulate product quality and safety. Having a marijuana card is the only way to access medical marijuana dispensaries and avoid excessive taxes that are placed on recreational marijuana product sales.
Steps to Getting a Michigan Marijuana Card
To be eligible for a Michigan marijuana card, first, you have to receive a formal diagnosis for a “Qualifying Condition”. Qualifying conditions in Michigan marijuana card include: Cancer, Glaucoma, Positive status for Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV), Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS), Hepatitis C, Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS – Lou Gehrig’s Disease), Crohn’s disease, Agitation of Alzheimer’s disease, Nail patella, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). A patient also qualifies if s/he experiences any chronic or debilitating disease or medical condition, or it’s treatment, which produces one or more of the following symptoms or side effects: Cachexia or wasting syndrome, Severe and chronic pain, Nausea, Seizures, including but not limited to those characteristic of epilepsy, Severe and persistent muscle spasms, including but not limited to those characteristic of multiple sclerosis
The next and most crucial stage in getting your Michigan marijuana card is to have a duly licensed physician to sign off on the state required “Physician Certification” form. Most larger health groups do not allow physicians to issue physician certifications. The only alternative is to locate approved Michigan medical marijuana doctors who are licensed to issue the all-important form.
Schedule an in-person examination with a Healthy Partners Medical Marijuana Doctor to get your physician certification form. This is necessary regardless of whether you have already received your diagnosis for a qualifying condition from another physician. If you have already received a diagnosis of qualifying condition, then you should fax or bring your records with you to your appointment.
Once you have your physician certification form, you will submit it along with other required documents and fees to the State of Michigan for processing and approval. Patients who do not designate a caregiver can submit their Michigan marijuana card application online for faster processing. On average it takes between two to three weeks to get Michigan marijuana card once the application is approved. State application fees are separate from the fee for your physician examination.
The benefits of having a Michigan marijuana card cannot be emphasized enough. Your Michigan marijuana card provides legal protection from state prosecution for your use, possession and/or cultivation of cannabis – when you follow the rules outlined in the Michigan Medical Marijuana Act. It also allows you to purchase medical cannabis and cannabis products from dispensaries much cheaper than recreational cannabis. Schedule your appointment today to get legal.