Updated on November 19, 2021.
Medical content reviewed by Dr. Joseph Rosado, MD, M.B.A, Chief Medical Officer
Getting a Medical Card in MI
Did you know that Michigan is famous for cultivating a popular strain, with a strange name? The Pinconning Paralyzer is unique to Michigan, with origins that stem back to the 1960s. But cultivating the strain stopped during the marijuana prohibition years. And now, some cultivators are bringing it back. The original seeds for the Pinconning Paralyzer were brought back to Michigan by soldiers returning from Vietnam.
Medical Marijuana in MI (2021 Update)
Both adult-use (recreational) and medical cannabis are legalized in the state of Michigan. Recently, Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel announced that personal use of cannabis should not disqualify residents from unemployment benefits.
The Michigan Unemployment Insurance Commission has had to address three cases where employees were fired after testing positive for THC metabolites. And then denied unemployment benefits. In two of the three cases, the Judge sided with the employee, not the employer.
The Michigan Medical Marijuana Program (MMMP) accepts patients that have been diagnosed with one of the following disorders. Or patients that have persistent symptoms that impact daily living.
The qualifying health conditions for medical marijuana in Michigan are:
- Alzheimer’s disease
- Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS)
- Crohn’s disease
- Hepatitis C
- Nail-patella Syndrome (NPS)
- Severe and chronic pain
- Severe nausea
- Severe and persistent muscle spasms, including but not limited to those characteristic of multiple sclerosis
Before you attend your Michigan medical card health evaluation, you will need to have a copy of your health records. For a period of at least twelve (12) months before your evaluation. And patients must also provide a written diagnosis (from a primary care physician) of the qualifying health condition. This is required to apply for a medical card in Michigan.
Residents of Michigan who want to apply for a medical card, have to complete a few steps. A doctor’s letter of certification is required. This means that a physician has reviewed your health history, current medications, and symptoms. This health check helps to identify patients that can safely use cannabis for personal wellness.
After receiving an affirmative letter of certification from a Michigan doctor, the next step is to register with the Michigan Medical Marijuana Program (MMMP). There is a fee for the application. The MMMP can approve or deny your application for a medical card. Or request more information from the physician if there is a concern.
If all is approved, the patient will receive a medical card in the mail. To visit a dispensary, patients must present their medical card and a valid government-issued photo ID.
Some patients may benefit from using medicinal marijuana to manage chronic pain, muscle spasms, or other health problems. If a patient cannot care for themselves or travel to a dispensary, a caregiver can help. This is one person who is a legal guardian for the patient. Once registered as a caregiver, the individual can
What medical marijuana is available in MI?
- There are various forms of medical marijuanas available in Michigan. In fact, unlike other states, Michigan residents have a selection of every category of cannabis product. From smokable flower to vape, tinctures to topicals and edibles. Concentrated cannabis, including resins, rosins, shatters, moonrocks, tankers, waxes, and isolates, is legal to buy at a dispensary in Michigan.
Where do you get medical marijuanas in MI?
- In some states, medical dispensaries can only serve patients. They cannot be combined with recreational dispensaries. But in Michigan, it is not uncommon to find dispensaries that provide adult-use (recreational) and medical marijuana services for customers.
- The difference between a medical cannabis dispensary and a recreational retail location is support-related. Patients can go into a Michigan medical dispensary and talk to knowledgeable budtenders for expert suggestions about strains and different intake methods.
Who can get a medical card in MI?
- Recreational marijuana is legalized for any resident of Michigan who is twenty-one (21) years of age or older. However, patients with a qualifying health diagnosis can apply for a medical card at eighteen (18) years without parental consent.
Read: “Getting a Medical Card When You Turn 18”.
- Minors with debilitating health conditions can access legalized medical cannabis through the Michigan marijuana caregiver program. This requires registering a legal guardian for the child who is responsible for care. The caregiver must be over the age of twenty-one years, and there are other criteria (including a criminal background check) that may apply before approval.
How do you get a medical card in MI?
- If you want to get a medical card in Michigan, there are a few easy steps. First, determine if you have one of the accepted qualifying health conditions. You must have recent proof of your diagnosis in writing from a physician. Or, if you were diagnosed with the health condition a long time ago, you must
- Patients need valid government-issued photo identification, such as a driver’s license, signed voter registration card, or state ID card. The photo ID must not be expired.
- A doctor must provide a health evaluation as part of the process to apply for a medical card. The health evaluation typically takes less than thirty minutes. The physician will ask you for a copy of your health records before your appointment for review. The cost of the Michigan medical card health evaluation varies, depending on the doctor.
- If the doctor feels medical cannabis may be a safe therapeutic option for you, they will issue a certification letter. You will include the letter of certification with your MMMP Application Form and pay a $60 fee to apply online. The cost of registration for a caregiver is $25.
- Patients will receive a notification by email when the MMMP has approved them for a Michigan medical card. You are required to wait until you have your valid MMMP registry card before purchasing or possessing cannabis. If you do not have your MMMP registry card, you have no legal protection against possession charges. You must have your registry card with you at all times.
When did medical marijuana in MI become legal?
- Both recreational and medical marijuana is legal in the state of Michigan. Patients with qualifying health conditions have been able to use cannabis therapeutically since 2008 legally. That is when the Michigan Compassionate Care Initiative was passed. And adults over the age of twenty-one (21) years have been able to purchase in a dispensary since 2019.
- Patients with a Michigan medical card can also legally purchase and possess cannabis in other states. Michigan has a reciprocal agreement with some states. Patients may still be required to register with the non-resident state medical cannabis program before visiting.
What’s Coming Up?
Two research projects were funded $20 million from Michigan recreational cannabis revenues. Almost $13 million of the funds was provided to the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS). The money will be used to explore the potential for cannabis to benefit veterans’ physical and mental health. And to reduce the suicide rate of American veterans living in Michigan.
The balance of funding ($7 million) was provided to Wayne State University’s Bureau of Community Action and Economic Opportunity. The studies through Wayne State University will focus on the treatment of mental health disorders, including treatment-resistant depression, insomnia, PTSD, and clinical anxiety.
Source Web 2021: marijuanamoment.net
The History of Medical Marijuana in Michigan
Medical marijuana was legalized, but business owners who opened dispensaries to serve patients faced a moment of fear. The Supreme Court ruled that dispensaries were illegal to own or operate as long as the federal government outlawed cannabis.
Here are some other key points in the history of marijuana legalization in Michigan:
April,1972—The city of Ann Arbor passed a city council ordinance that reduced the penalties for possession of marijuana. The city is one of many that independently moved forward for marijuana reform before the state proposed legalization.
Source Web 2021: legislature.mi.gov
November 4, 2008—The Michigan Compassionate Care Initiative was passed. It legalized possession of up to 2.5 ounces of cannabis for qualifying patients. This act only permitted patients in hospice care for terminal illness to be eligible for medical ‘marihuana.’
Source Web 2021: michigan.gov
February 2013—The Supreme Court of Michigan rules that the Compassionate Care Initiative did not make operating a medical cannabis dispensary legal in the state. There were approximately one hundred (100) dispensaries in Michigan at that time.
Source Web 2021: crainsdetroit.com
September 2016—Michigan Governor Rick Synder signs several reforms that make it legal to own and operate a medical cannabis dispensary (and licensing practices). The amendments also establish a 3% excise tax on medical cannabis sales.
Source Web 2021:michigan.gov
November 6, 2018—Voters in the general election approve the Michigan Regulation and Taxation of Marihuana Act (MRTMA). That made purchase, consumption, and possession of cannabis legal for adults aged 21 and older. Michigan becomes the first state in the American Midwest to legalize recreational cannabis.
Source Web 2021:legislature.mi.gov
Medical Marihuana Facility Licensing Application Section
Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs
Bureau of Medical Marihuana Regulation
Medical Marihuana Facility Licensing
P.O. Box 30205
Lansing, MI 48909
Phone: (517) 284-8599