Michigan's Medical Cannabis Laws & Regulations
In 2008, Michigan voters passed the Michigan Medical Marihuana Act (MMMA) through the state's initiative process. The Act is very comprehensive. Its preamble describes its purposes as follows: "AN INITIATION of Legislation to allow under state law the medical use of marihuana; to provide protections for the medical use of marihuana; to provide for a system of registry identification cards for qualifying patients and primary caregivers; to impose a fee for registry application and renewal; to provide for the promulgation of rules; to provide for the administration of this act; to provide for enforcement of this act; to provide for affirmative defenses; and to provide for penalties for violations of this act."
The protections of the MMMA apply only to "qualifying patients" who have registry identification cards issued by the Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs and their primary caregivers. To obtain a registry identification card, the patient must submit an application to the Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs, which must be accompanied by a written certification from his or her physician that the person has a debilitating medical condition and that condition would be beneficially treated by the use of cannabis. That application is confidential and can be found at www.michigan.gov/mmp.
The MMMA states that patients who have registry identification cards and their primary caregivers shall not be subject to arrest, prosecution, or penalty in any manner, or denied any right or privilege, including but not limited to civil penalty or disciplinary action by a business or occupational or professional licensing board or bureau, for the medical use of marihuana in accordance with the Act. M.C.L. § 333.26423(a)(1). The patient may possess no more than 2.5 ounces of usable marihuana and 12 marihuana plants kept in an enclosed, locked facility, but fewer ounces and plants if the patient has a primary caregiver. M.C.L. § 333.26424(a). An "enclosed, locked facility is "a closet, room, or other enclosed area equipped with locks or other security devices." M.C.L. § 333.26423(c).
A primary caregiver is provided the same protections, so long as he or she possesses or cultivates no more than these quantities for each patient for whom he or she cares. M.C.L. § 333.26424(b). The qualified patient and the primary caregiver may collectively possess no more than the totals cited above.
Section 333.26426 of the “Michigan Marihuana Act” authorizes the Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA) to establish pertaining to fees and create application forms. The are currently no statewide regulations covering dispensaries; however, certain municipalities have pass ordinances that permit the businesses. The Michigan legislature is closely considering a dispensary bill that that potentially could be passed sometime in late 2013 or 2014.
In 2012, the legislature approved 4 bills which amend certain provisions of the MMMA, dealing with registration requirements, bona fide physician-patient relationship definition, and where one must store their medical cannabis while transporting it. The portions of the 2009 MMMA that were not effected by 2012 remain in place.
In 2013, the Michigan Supreme Court ruled in the case of State vs. McQueen that dispensaries were not authorized under Michigan law. The court ruled that patients must obtain their medicine from a designated caregiver, or cultivate themselves.
2009 Voter-Approved MMMA
2012 Legislative Amendments to the MMMA
State vs. McQueen (banning dispensaries)
People vs. Koon (DUID protection)
Ter Beck vs. City of Wyoming (local bans prohibited)
Braska vs. Challenge Manufacturing Company (unemployment insurance protection)
New fees (2015)
In This Section
In November of 2008, voters of the State of Michigan passed M.C.L. § 333.26421 et seq., which effectively legalized limited amounts of medical cannabis for patients and their primary caregivers.