Updated on April 25, 2018.
Medical content reviewed by Dr. Richard Koffler, MD, Board Certified Physiatrist
Michigan joined the ranks of medical marijuana states in 2008 when 63% of voters approved the Michigan Medical Marihuana Act. The act allows patients with a doctor’s recommendation or their caregivers to register with the state and legally possess up to 2.5 ounces of usable cannabis. Registration with the state in order to receive a valid medical marijuana card is mandatory in Michigan, but the state also recognizes cards from other states. Additionally, the law requires that patients have an established relationship with the doctor who writes their medical marijuana recommendation.
Since the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs began issuing medical marijuana cards, the program has expanded rapidly to become one of the largest in the nation, easily surpassing 100,000 patients in a little over two years and becoming home to booming cannabis industry despite hostility from many state authorities.
Michigan Medical Marijuana Facts
- Although Michigan’s medical cannabis facts website claims that “there is no place in the state of Michigan to legally purchase medical marijuana,” the law is vague, and thus, there are numerous non-profit dispensaries operating throughout the state. Courts have only partially clarified the issue.
- Curious Michigan marijuana fact: the state, and thus all legal documents, officially spells it MARIHUANA with an “h” instead of the usual spelling with a “j.” No explanation is given for this other than it being an acceptable spelling.
- The law has very strong built-in doctor protections: a doctor may not be arrested, prosecuted or penalized in any manner, or be denied any right or privilege, for discussing medical marijuana with a patient. This includes protection from civil penalties and disciplinary actions by state medical boards.
- The latest marijuana statistics out of Michigan show that there have been 205,423 applications (original and renewal) for marijuana cards since licensing began in April 2009.
- A total of 126,912 Michigan marijuana cards have been issued and 21,453 applications have been denied. Most denials were a result of missing documentation and improperly filled out applications, rather than failure to qualify.
- Caregivers are allowed to grow and possess medical marijuana for up to 5 patients. As of November 2011, the exact number of caregivers is unknown, although this is mainly due to the program’s young age. Much more statistical marijuana data is expected to be available in 2012.
- There is also no available data regarding the concentration of medical marijuana patients by county.
- Applications are usually reviewed within 15 days of being received, in the event that a card takes longer than 20 days to be issued, a copy of the application can be used as a valid registry ID, AKA medical marijuana card.
- One of the more unusual medical marijuana facts for Michigan is that one of the qualifying conditions is a somewhat obscure disease known as Nail Patella. This is a genetic disorder that results in not only poorly developed kneecaps, but nails as well. It can, however, affect other areas of the body, such as the hips, chest and elbows. People suffering from this disorder can have substantial deformities and also experience issues such as limited motion of certain joints, kidney damage and more.
- The law allows patients to have an affirmative court defense against charges of paraphernalia related to their use of medical marijuana.
- The medical marijuana program in Michigan does not have protections built in to protect employees with medical marijuana recommendations from being penalized at work.
If you would like to learn more marijuana facts for Michigan or any other state, visit MarijuanaDoctors.com on a regular basis. We will provide updated information as developments in this extremely important issue warrant.