Getting A Medical Marijuana Card In Michigan. Where Do I Start?
In November 2018, voters in the great state of Michigan approved Proposal 1. Now adults 21 and over are blessed with the freedom to legally possess, and utilize up to 2.5 ounces of recreational cannabis, and to grow up to 12 plants out of plain sight at their residence. But they cannot purchase recreational cannabis from a center until rules and licensing are developed some time in 2019. On the other hand, certified patients can still purchase medicine from state licensed provisioning centers. The medicinal cannabis program here has been in place for years, but it has left much to be desired when it comes to safe access for patients. There are still more protections for patients that are cardholders even after the passing of Prop 1. Of course, like many states, you must have a state issued card that is obtained after proving you have a qualifying condition.
The people of Michigan passed the Michigan Medical Marihuana Act in 2008. This allowed for the use of marijuana for medical purposes to treat the symptoms of many chronic diseases, and chronic pain. Thus allowing patients a safer, more natural remedy or treatment for their individual health needs. Because cannabis is not a pharmaceutical, it is not accessible through a pharmacy like most of the meds you may take or have used in the past. To access medical cannabis in the state of Michigan, you must have a a medical marijuana card. You can then grow your own medicine, or find yourself a caregiver to grow it for you. Many times they may even offer a discounted rate for your medicinal cannabis needs. Your card is proof that a doctor has found that you suffer from one or more qualifying conditions that medical cannabis can offer theraputic or palliative benefit to. Giving you the freedom to use it to treat, or even eliminate symptoms from your debilitating medical condition or symptoms associated with it.
What are the qualifying conditions to obtain a medical cannabis card in Michigan? In order to be eligible to apply for a card, you must have at least one or more debilitating medical conditions.
This means one or more of the following: Cancer, Glaucoma, positive status for Human Immunodeficiency Virus, Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome, Hepatatis C, Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, Crohn’s Disease, Alzheimer’s Disease, Nail Patella, a formal diagnosis of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Arthritis, Autism, Chronic Pain, Colitis, Inflammatory Bowel Disease, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, Parkinson’s, Rheumatoid Arthritis, Spinal Cord Injury, Tourette’s Syndrome, Ulcerative Colitis, or treatment of these conditions.
A chronic or debilitating disease, medical condition, or it’s treatment that produces one or more of the following: Cachexia or Wasting Syndrome; severe and chronic pain; severe nausea; seizures, including but not limited to those characteristic of Epilepsy; or severe and persistent muscle spasms, including, but not limited to those characteristics of Multiple Sclerosis.
Any other medical condition or its treatment approved by the department, as provided for in section 6(k) in the Michigan Medical Marihuana Act.
- To qualify for certification in the state of Michigan, you will need to possess recent medical records stating your debilitating qualifying condition, and must be seen by a certifying physician. The more recent the records, the better. Ideally records should be within the last three years minimum.
- Parents or guardians of minors must provide the recommended 2 Physician Certifications.
- *If you are registering a minor with the MMMP, the parent or legal guardian of the minor patient must submit in ONE envelope, a complete MMMP Minor Application Packet. This can be found at http://www.michigan.gov/mmp. This includes:
- -A completed application form.
- -Two complete Physician Certification Forms signed by two different physicians.
- -A complete Declaration of a Person Responsible Form, which is also part of the Application Packet.
- -Proof of parentage or legal guardianship. (A copy of the minor’s government-issued birth certificate.)
- -Proof of Michigan residency for the minor’s parent or legal guardian, which means one of the following:
- -A copy of the patient, parent, or legal guardians valid, lawfully obtained Michigan driver license issued under the Michigan vehicle code.
- -A copy of the patient, parent, or legal guardian’s valid, lawfully obtained Michigan personal identification card.
- -A copy of the parent or legal guardian’s valid Michigan voter registration.
- -The $60 required application fee (check or money order made payable to: State of Michigan-MMP)
*Expired personal identification cards or drivers licenses will not be accepted.
Many new caregivers have told me that they have no idea where to start when it comes to helping their sick family member or friend. We need to remember that some folks are brought to this point through a series of unfortunate events such as illness and trauma. So many caregivers are now assisting their parent(s) and loved ones as they battle a variety of health related diseases and symptoms. Going to a medical marijuana certification clinic could be just one event along with many other whirlwind doctor appointments that are brought on by chronic illness or disease. Certification clinics can help make the entire process easier for the new patient and caregiver.
Personally, applying as a new patient, I think it is easier to find a local certification clinic to assist you than to do the paperwork on your own. But, if you’d prefer, you can ask your personal physician or specialist to examine you and fill out your necessary doctor paperwork. You can then send in your fee and paperwork to the state yourself. If you have any questions, refer to the MMMP website, email LARA, or call 517-284-6400. Like I mentioned earlier, you can also just check out your local paper or online news source to find a reputable and affordable doctor certification clinic near you for assistance. Call to schedule an appointment to obtain your doctor recommendation necessary to apply for your Michigan Medical Marijuana Card.
Once it is determined you are a candidate, the clinic will then make the recommendation for you. Most clinics will help you handle the majority of the form work and answer common questions for patients. The doctor will then complete the information necessary to submit the form to the state. After either one of these routes are taken to get your registry card, you will then just need to wait patiently for your card. Usually the state tries to get cards out within 15-20 days. Some instances take longer for whatever the reason. Once you physically have your card, you can begin exploring the medicinal world of cannabis and the amazing related products that are now available to the card holding public. Many certification clinics even offer online renewal.
One of the most important things you can do as a patient is to make sure that you are well informed on the laws and regulations that effect you. Be an aware, responsible cannabis consumer and try to follow the law. Keep your meds secure. I have been present during many events at the capital where law enforcement and state representatives both admit the law is a very grey area here in Michigan and leaves much to be desired as far as interpretation goes. Always better to be on the safe side. Be informed about your medicine, not only physically and mentally, but how it could effect you legally as well.
The MMMP has new, revised applications and forms available on the MMMP website at http://www.michigan.gov/mmp. Applicants, registered patients, and registered caregivers are required to use these forms effective February 1, 2018. Failure to use the new forms after that date will result in a denial or the form being rejected. Those submitting an application or request for changes to his or her registration should only download forms from the MMMP’s website.
- A qualifying patient without a specified caregiver in the state of Michigan is allowed to grow up to 12 cannabis plants in an enclosed, locked facility. They can also possess an amount of cannabis that does not exceed a combined total of 2.5 ounces. For purposes of determining usable cannabis equivalency, the following will be considered equivalent to 1 ounce of usable cannabis:
1) 16 ounces or 453.6 grams of cannabis-infused product if in solid form.
2) 7 grams of cannabis-infused product if in gaseous form.
3) 36 fluid ounces or 1.06 liters of cannabis-infused product if in a liquid form.
There is a wide variety of cannabis infused medicinals for today’s patient to choose from when it comes to medicating. From the actual cannabis flower, to full extract cannabis oils, teas, tinctures, concentrates, beverages, vaporizing, sublingual sprays, capsules, edibles, inhalers, transdermal patches, roll-ons, suppositories, topicals, ingesting fresh cannabis, and juicing. Don’t even get me started on canna butter and cooking oils. The possibilities are endless when it comes to this amazing plant.
For example: Do you love your favorite grandma’s cookies? Do you suffer from migraines or chronic pain? If you have your card, you can now start baking preventively! Substitute canna butter for that old time recipe’s margarine, butter, or oil. If you know when you are prone to suffering regular migraines or flare ups, start medicating with a cookie before bed a few nights before in effort of warding them off. This worked for me upon recommendation of my physician and I have remained migraine free for the most part since. Every now and then I will slack off and have one reoccur. If I stay on top of it, I am now completely migraine free after suffering from them for years. It beats taking numerous migraine meds like Imitrex, or beta blockers. I prefer canna-breads like pumpkin, banana, and zucchini over pills or injections any day.
There are many cannabis cookbooks and other educational books on focused on helping you make your own variety of canna-meds from the comfort of your own home. These are available to help you medicate with cannabis without such a large learning curve. What are you waiting for? Take full advantage.
Please remember that cannabis impacts everyone differently, as well as the different routes of medicating. Always start small when it comes to medicating, especially with something that may be new to you. As with any medication, do your own research and see what routes of medicating will be the best fit for you personally. Keep a journal to help you note pros and cons to the medicinals you have tried. We all need cannabinoids. Are you ready to see what cannabis can do for you?