Michigan 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."  Effective December 20, 2016, the MMMA is amended in order to clarify that possession and use of “marihuana-infused products” (e.g., edibles, oils, etc.) is also protected under the law.  The Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs oversees the implementation of the registry program under the MMMA. 

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 (or marihuana-infused products) 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 rules pertaining to fees and create application forms. The Michigan Legislature and Governor in 2016 passed bills to license and regulate the growth, processing, transport and provisioning of medical marihuana.  Rules/regulations for the bills are to be established in 2017 and go into effect sometime thereafter. However, certain municipalities have pass ordinances that permit the businesses. 

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 then current Michigan law (but see 2016 legislation above). The court ruled that patients must obtain their medicine from a designated caregiver, or cultivate themselves. 

In September 2016, the governor signed 3 bills to improve the medical cannabis program. HB 4210 went into effect immediately clarify that medical cannabis patients may possess cannabis extracts and infused products. HB 4209 or the Medical Marihuana Facilities Licensing Act creates a program to license and regulate the cultivation, processing, transport and distribution of medical cannabis. The new Medical Marihuana Licensing Board along with LARA have until September 2017 to create the rules for the program and begin issuing licenses. HB 4827 or the Marihuana Tracking Act authorizes a state-wide seed to sale program. 

Law

Voter-Approved MMMA (2009) - The Michigan Medical Marihuana Act 

Legislative Amendments to the MMMA (2012)

Legislative Amendments to the MMMA (2016) - Act 282, Public Acts of 2016

Other Legislative Action (2016)

Regulations

Administrative Rules, effective April 4, 2009

New fees (2015)

Michigan Landmark Legal Rulings

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)