Michigan voters approved the Michigan Compassionate Care Initiative (Proposal 1) with 63% of the vote on November 6, 2008. The measure legalized medical cannabis use for seriously ill patients. It allowed seriously and terminally ill patients to use marijuana with a doctor’s approval, and permitted qualifying patients and caregivers to cultivate a limited supply of medical marijuana. Proposal 1 also established a patient registry system and placed prohibitions on public use, as well as driving under the influence of cannabis.
Several Michigan cities and communities have decriminalized recreational use and limited possession over the years. The first was Ann Arbor in 1972. In 2015, Keego Harbor decriminalized recreational use and possession of up to one ounce (1 oz.), or 28.35 grams, for persons 21 and older.
The Michigan Marihuana Facilities Licensing Act (MMFLA) was signed into law in September 2016 to implement a system of licensing and regulation for five categories of cannabis facilities: growers, processors, secured transporters, safety compliance facilities, and provisioning centers. The MMFLA was a direct response to the illegal status of dispensing facilities after a 2013 state Supreme Court ruling.
Michigan legalization advocates in November 2017 garnered enough support to get the Michigan Regulation and Taxation of Marijuana Act on the November 2018 ballot. Spearheaded by the pro-cannabis advocacy group Coalition to Regulate Marijuana like Alcohol, the initiative would allow recreational legalization for adults 21 and older.
Michigan’s legislation uses an out-of-date spelling of marijuana that harkens to the Marihuana Tax Act of 1937. In order to change the spelling to the more widely accepted “marijuana,” the Legislature would have to act officially.
The Michigan Medical Marihuana Program (MMMP) is a state registry program of the Bureau of Medical Marihuana Regulation (BMMR), which operates under the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA). The mission statement of the MMMP Division is “to assure that the registration process is conducted efficiently and effectively, consistent with all statutes and administrative rules pertaining to the MMMP.” The Medical Marihuana Facilities Licensing Division implements the facilities licensing and regulatory framework of the MMFLA.
Where is it Safe to Purchase?
Certified patients may purchase medical cannabis from state-licensed “provision centers.” In compliance with the MMFLA, provision centers are restricted from referring to their operation as a “dispensary,” or using the term “dispensary” in their advertising. The MMFLA defines a provision center as “any commercial property where cannabis is sold at retail to registered qualifying patients or registered primary caregivers.” In other words, the term “provision center” is carefully reserved for licensed medical marijuana dispensing facilities as a clear signal of facility compliance with state law.
There is currently a three percent (3%) sales tax on all medical cannabis retail purchases in Michigan.
Where is it Safe to Consume?
Certified patients may consume medical cannabis at home or in a private space. Consumption in public areas is illegal. Consuming medical marijuana in a privately owned vehicle falls under use in a public place, and is also prohibited. Driving under the influence of cannabis is a violation of Michigan’s Drugged Driving laws.
Possession and Cultivation Limits
Certified patients are allowed to possess up to one ounce (1 oz.), or 28.35 g, of “marihuana-infused products”. The Michigan Medical Marihuana Act (MMMA) designates that the following amounts as legal equivalents of 1 ounce of medical marijuana:
16 ounces, or 453.6 g, of marihuana-infused product in a solid form.
7 grams of marihuana-infused product in a gaseous form.
36 fluid ounces, or 1.06 liters, of marihuana-infused product in a liquid form.
Primary caregivers may also hold legal amounts of medical cannabis for their patients. If a caregiver intends to cultivate plants for a patient, it must be specified on the patient’s registry application. Patients and primary caregivers may cultivate and possess up to 12 cannabis plants at a time. Home-cultivated plants must be kept in a locked and enclosed space.
to Be to Consume?
Medical Marihuana Program
The MMMP allows qualifying patients to obtain a registry ID card, which grants the patient legal access to medical marijuana.
Patients and Caregivers
Patients must be 18 or older to qualify for medical cannabis use. If a patient designates a primary caregiver, the patient is required to list the caregiver on their registry application. Caregivers must be at least 21 years old, and never have been convicted of a violent or drug-related felony. Primary caregivers must also have not committed a felony of any kind within the last 10 years. Primary caregivers may have up to five (5) qualifying patients in their care.
Debilitating Medical Conditions
The MMMP reserves medical cannabis access for patients with the following debilitating medical conditions:
- Alzheimer’s disease
- Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), or Lou Gehrig’s disease
- Hepatitis C
- Crohn’s disease
- Nail-patella syndrome
The MMMP also reserves medical cannabis for chronic or debilitating conditions, or their treatments, that produce one or more of the following:
Cachexia, or wasting syndrome
Seizures, including but not limited to those characteristic of epilepsy
Severe and chronic pain
Severe and persistent muscle spasms, including but not limited to those characteristic of multiple sclerosis
Applying for medical marijuana certification in Michigan involves the following steps:
- Patients must get a recommendation from a qualified physician. Unlike programs in other states, the MMMP doesn’t require extra training from licensed physicians who desire to issue medical marijuana recommendations. It does, however, require a “bona-fide doctor/patient relationship.”
- Patients must fill out the MMMP application form and submit it with a physician certification and proof of Michigan residency — valid Michigan driver’s license, personal identification card, or signed voter registration).
- Patients who obtain a registry identification card are now authorized to cultivate, possess, and purchase medical cannabis.
Registry Identification Card
The patient fee to obtain a registry ID card costs $60. Patients who designate a caregiver in their application must also submit a $25 caregiver fee and a copy of the caregiver’s state-issued identification. Designated caregivers will then receive a registry ID card, which expires the same date as their patient’s registry ID.
Michigan patients have frequently been told by third parties that a registry application and physician will function as a temporary registry ID card. All patients applying for the MMMP should know that a valid registry ID card — presented alongside another state-issued ID, most commonly a state driver’s license — is the only form of identification that will protect them from arrest.
Certified medical cannabis patients from out of state may use medical cannabis while in Michigan, as long as their home state also allows for reciprocity.
Cannabis testing labs, identified as “safety compliance labs” in the MMMA, must be regulated by either the state, or a state-selected third party. Safety compliance labs must test for the following:
- Cannabidiol and cannabidiol acid levels
- Chemical residue
- Foreign matter inspection
- Metals screening
- Microbial and mycotoxin screening
- Moisture content
- Potency analysis
- Residual solvent levels
- Terpene analysis
- Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) level
- Tetrahydrocannabinol acid (THCA) level
- Water activity content
If a marijuana sample given to a safety compliance lab does not pass the microbial, mycotoxin, heavy metal, pesticide chemical residue, or residual solvents levels test as required by the MMMA, the facility that provided the sample is required to dispose of the entire batch from which the sample was taken, and provide documentation of its destruction.
This page was last updated on August 27, 2018.