Cannabis has been legal in Michigan since December 2018, but you’ll be hard-pressed to find it in stores. The state is still creating a framework for the legal retail market, which means we won’t see recreational cannabis shops open until 2020. In the meantime, medical marijuana dispensaries are open and thriving—but you’ll need a medical marijuana card.
How hard is it to get a medical marijuana card in Michigan? Thankfully, it's remarkably easy to apply online once you have all your documents in order. According to the most recent report from the Marijuana Regulatory Agency, statewide, there are roughly 285,000 registered medical marijuana patients and 40,000 caregivers, an increase of more than 70% since 2012.
Ready to apply? Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to get a medical marijuana card in Michigan.
1. Find out if you qualify.
In order to qualify for a medical marijuana card, you’ll need to be diagnosed with at least one of the qualifying conditions recognized by the state. Qualifying conditions in Michigan include:
- Agitation of Alzheimer’s Disease
- Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis
- Chronic Pain
- Cerebral Palsy
- Crohn’s Disease
- Hepatitis C
- Inflammatory Bowel Disease
- Nail Patella
- Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
- Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
- Parkinson’s Disease
- Rheumatoid Arthritis
- Spinal Cord Injury
- Tourette’s Syndrome
- Ulcerative Colitis
Or any chronic and debilitating disease or condition or its treatment that produces one or more of the following:
- Cachexia or wasting syndrome
- Seizures, including those characteristics of Epilepsy
- Severe and Chronic Pain
- Severe and persistent muscle spasms, including those characteristic of Multiple Sclerosis
- Severe Nausea
2. Visit your doctor.
Many doctors in Michigan are becoming accepting of medicinal marijuana treatments and have registered accounts with LARA. If so, your primary physician can sign or provide documentation to confirm your qualifying condition.
However, as many primary physicians are not registered with LARA, you’ll need a signature by other means. Cannabis is still stigmatized by some doctors, and many are still hesitant or unwilling to join the program. If that’s the case, move on to step 3.
3. Get a copy of your medical records.
You have the right to view and obtain your medical records, according to The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996. If your primary doctor won’t sign your form, request a copy of your records for personal use.
Your doctor’s office will ask you to fill out a patient access request and authorization form, which will be sent to you by mail. Once you receive the form, fill it out and send it back to your doctor’s office. You should have your records within five to 10 business days.
4. Make an appointment at a cannabis clinic.
The next step is to make an appointment at a cannabis clinic. Bring your medical records with you. Note, some clinics ask patients to send documentation in advance, ahead of your appointment.
Much like any other medical appointment, you’ll be taken into an examination room, have your vital signs checked and discuss the reason for your visit. After reviewing your records, the physician will discuss whether medical cannabis is a suitable treatment for your condition. If you fit the criteria, the doctor will fill out the remaining paperwork, including the Physician Certification Form. Most clinics require a $200 certification fee.
5. Submit your application online
Now that you have your recommendation and the Physician Certification Form, the hardest part is over. Go online and fill out the application form.
You’ll be asked to set up an account with LARA. You'll need your certifying physician's license number and your Physician Certification Form, signed by your provider at the cannabis clinic. You must also upload a government-issued photo ID and a signed voter registration card, or provide a Michigan State issued driver’s license number.
Once submitted, your qualifying physician will receive a notice and has 15 days to certify your use of medical marijuana. The application fee is $60 or, $25 for caregivers, and you can pay by electronic check or credit card.
If you submit online and your certifying physician already has an online account with LARA, you can use your approval email as a temporary substitute for your patient card for up to 10 days while you wait for the card to arrive in the mail.
Old-fashioned types can opt to mail in a physical application form with all of the required documents and their physician’s signature, along with a check, but the approval process may take longer.
6. Visit a legal medical dispensary near you
When you receive your card in the mail (or your approval email as noted above), you’re ready to visit any of the legal medical marijuana dispensaries in your neighborhood, including Common Citizen. Registered patients can legally possess up to 2.5 ounces of cannabis flower, or equivalent amounts of other cannabis products.
Now that you know how to get a medical marijuana card in Michigan, we're looking forward to seeing you in-store or at our cafe to see what we have to offer. Our highly-trained Citizen Advisors can suggest the best strains or products for your needs, and answer any questions you may have.