Medical marijuana was essentially legalized in Michigan in 2008, with the passing of the Medical Marijuana Act into law. This law allowed patients with doctors' recommendations to possess a specific quantity of marijuana for treatment of qualifying medical conditions. To identify eligible persons, the Medical Marijuana Act created registry identification cards (medical marijuana cards), which are issued to registered patients and caregivers. A Michigan MMJ card is valid for two years from the date of issuance after which it must be renewed.
The Marijuana Regulatory Agency (MRA) February 2021 statistical report revealed there were 7,998 initial applications for medical marijuana cards submitted in Michigan. Of this total, there were 7,209 registry ID cards issued and 1,218 denials. Also, there were 1,673 renewal applications, which resulted in 1,558 approvals and 91 denials. According to the MRA report, as of February 28, 2021, there were 246,637 qualifying patients and 30,626 caregivers in the State of Michigan.
To be eligible to apply and receive an MMJ card in Michigan, the patient:
Minors are eligible to obtain medical marijuana cards in Michigan under specific conditions. For minors to receive MMJ cards in Michigan they must have chronic symptoms, rare diseases, or terminal illnesses and a designated caregiver. The child must still undergo a health evaluation or pediatric review. The caregiver is required to provide valid documentation that establishes guardianship and medical durable power of attorney for the child. Applications for medical marijuana cards for minors can not be completed online and must be submitted as paper applications.
To receive a medical marijuana card in Michigan, the patient must have one or more of the following debilitating health conditions;
Any chronic or debilitating disease, medical condition, or treatment that produces any of the following symptoms or side-effects:
Applying for a medical marijuana card in Michigan requires the patient to register for the Michigan Medical Marijuana Program (MMMP). Registration can be online or by completing and submitting a paper application packet. To register for the MMMP, the patient must submit:
If the patient designates a caregiver, the person must include proof of identity and other documents that establish guardianship and medical durable power of attorney.
To be eligible to become a primary caregiver in the Michigan Medical Marijuana Program (MMMP), the individual must satisfy the statutory requirements of the Medical Marihuana Act. These requirements state that the individual -
The patient must submit a completed Application Package], which designates the individual as their caregiver if the patient has no active registration with the MMMP. If the patient already has an active registration with the MMMP, they must submit a completed Add/Change Caregiver form instead. The caregiver must include a copy of a valid Michigan photo ID with the submission. If the patient's application is approved, the caregiver will be issued a registry identification card.
Michigan medical marijuana laws require that the Michigan Medical Marijuana Program (MMMP) must approve or deny an application within fifteen days of receiving it. Also, a registry ID Card or denial letter must be issued to the applicant and caregiver (if necessary) within five days of the date of approval or denial.
Applicants who have not received their registry ID Card or denial letter within five weeks of submitting their application can contact the MMMP on (517) 284-6400.
To apply for an MMJ card online, login into the Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA) web portal. Applicants must create user accounts with passwords using valid email addresses. Only patients who do not require caregivers can submit online applications for medical marijuana cards. If the patient requires a caregiver, they must submit a paper application.
Complete the online application by entering patient information, uploading the necessary documents, including ID and proof of residency, and paying the application fee. The applicant has the option of uploading the physician's certification themself or having the physician complete the certification online. The physician has fifteen days to complete the online certification ready for approval. If the applicant uploads the physician certification personally, the Michigan Medical Marijuana Program (MMMP) will review the application within fifteen days.
A medical marijuana card costs $40, payable by check or money order made out to the State of Michigan - Medical Marijuana Program. Online applications are paid using credit or debit cards. The fee must be paid when submitting the application package for the MMJ card. However, this fee does not include the costs of obtaining a physician's certification as those costs are determined by the physician. Health insurance will not cover the costs of receiving a medical marijuana card in Michigan, since the federal government still classifies cannabis as a controlled substance.
Patients renew their Michigan medical marijuana cards by submitting a renewal application to the Michigan Medical Marijuana Program (MMMP). Applications for MMJ card renewals can be made online or via paper submissions.
Only patients without caregivers can submit online renewal applications. To submit a renewal application online, patients should log into their existing user accounts and follow the link to their existing records. Complete the renewal by following the instructions to renew patient-only registry ID cards. A physician will need to complete another online certification for the renewal application to be approved.
Patients with caregivers (or who wish to designate one) must renew their MMJ cards by submitting paper applications. To complete the renewal application, the patient must submit a completed application package, including a physician's certification, other necessary documents, and the fee. If the patient is designating a caregiver, the caregiver's documentation must also be included in the submission.
To apply for and receive a medical marijuana card in Michigan, the applicant must provide the following documents along with the application package:
All the applications to the Michigan Medical Marijuana Program (MMMP) and any supporting information, including physician and caregiver information are confidential. The Marijuana Regulatory Agency (MRA) retains a confidential list of qualified patients and approved caregivers issued medical marijuana cards by the MMMP. All the names and other identifying information contained therein are exempt from disclosure under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA).
HIPAA, a federal law enacted in 1996, created the national standards for the protection of sensitive health information from disclosure without the patient's consent. The HIPAA Privacy Rule standards regulate the disclosure of an individual's protected information by covered entities subject to the Privacy Rule. The major objective of the Privacy Rule is to ensure the proper protection of an individual's health information. This should be done while also facilitating the flow of information needed to promote high-quality healthcare and protect public health.
The MRA will only disclose patient information to third parties upon the explicit written request of the patient. Persons found guilty of disclosing patients' confidential information are liable for fines of up to $1,000 and up to six months jail time. The information contained in the list maintained by the MRA shall only be available to:
A patient's Michigan medical marijuana card includes a picture of the patient and pertinent personal information. This information includes:
Patient information contained in the Michigan registry is confidential and not available to third parties unless explicitly requested by the patient. It is a misdemeanor to unlawfully disclose patient information to third parties, punishable by a fine and jail time.