Medical marijuana is the use of the leaves, flowers and buds of the hemp plant cannabis sativa to help treat symptoms associated with diseases like cancer, arthritis and AIDS among many others. While it is against the federal law in the United States to deal with marijuana for any purpose, as many as 33 states have passed legislation to allow the use of medical marijuana. The state of Michigan joined other states that allowed the use of medical marijuana in the year 2008 after the voters passed a ballot proposal by a large margin. The laws were later enacted which gave birth to the Michigan Medical Marijuana Act (MMMA). Although confusing at first, it has undergone amendments over the years to clarify its ambiguities in accordance with the original intent of the people.
Who is a medicinal card holder?
A Medicinal card holder according to MMMA is: a qualifying patient who has been issued and possesses a registry identification card and is not 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 marijuana in accordance with this act’.
A primary caregiver is granted the same privileges as a qualifying patient for assisting a qualifying patient to whom he or she is connected through the department’s registration process with the medical use of marijuana in accordance with this act.
The MMMA act stipulates among other things the conditions that qualify a patient or caregiver, conditions for arrest, prosecution and penalties, privileges as well as conditions for marijuana use and usable equivalents. Qualifying patients and caregivers are issued with a registry identification card that gives them many privileges including the cultivation, manufacture and sell of medical marijuana only to those who the medical use of marijuana is allowed.
Legally growing marijuana in Michigan
A large number of medical marijuana patients and caregivers opt to grow their own marijuana plants rather than buying. There are good reasons for this:
- You will have confidence in what you are using and avoid mishandled or adultered product
- You will save lots of money as it is cheap to grow
- There is unlimited access whenever you need it
- It is a fun way of reconnecting with nature especially if you enjoy gardening
- You can experiment with different growing techniques and also different parts of the plant
While growing you own hemp comes with irresistible benefits, you need to do it within a legal framework. The MMMA is strict regarding its rules of cultivation of medical marijuana. Otherwise, the growers attract severe penalties and felonious criminal responsibilities.
According to the MMMA, card holders in Michigan are allowed to grow up to 12 marijuana plants provided that the plants are not visible from a public place. It can also be grown outside of an enclosed area that has a restricted access. That means you will to be growing it indoors, or outside in a shed or grow house equipped with locks or other functioning security devices.
Medical marijuana caregivers on the other hand are tasked with supplying patients who prefer not to grow or are unable to grow marijuana individually. A caregiver is allowed to have five patients registered to him and with 12 plants assigned to each; the maximum allowed number of plants is 60. In a situation where the caregiver is a patient himself, he can grow up to 72 cannabis marijuana plants. The law allows any incidental amount of seeds, stalks, and unusable roots and are not be included in this amount.
According to MMMA, the cultivation of marijuana is a very sensitive subject and only patients and caregivers are allowed into the restricted cultivation area. In fact, any other person who lives within the same home cannot access the key. Any form on non-compliance means that the card holder shall lose protection and is liable to prosecution under section 4 of the MMMA act.
The allowed possession and use of medical marijuana
Apart from cultivating, certified patients and caregivers/ MMJ card holders can purchase their marijuana supplies from state licensed provisioning centers found all over Michigan. Whichever the case, the possession and use of medical marijuana is also limited.
Qualifying patients and primary caregivers are allowed to manufacture a marijuana-infused product as long as they do not transfer it to any individual who is not registered. Card holders may possess a maximum of 1 ounce or 28.35 grams equivalent of infused/edible marijuana product like cookies, fruit jams, confections, herb mixtures and vinegars among others. Those who grow marijuana at home and grow 12 plants may possess the harvest of the plants up to 10 ounces or 283.5 grams in their home. The MMMA designates that the following amounts as legal equivalents of 1 ounce of medical marijuana for the purposes of determining usable marijuana equivalency:
- 16 ounces, or 453.6 grams, of marijuana-infused product in a solid form
- 7 grams marijuana-infused product in a gaseous form
- 36 fluid ounces, or 1.06 liters, of marijuana-infused product in a liquid form
In terms of transportation, the MMMA law allows the card holders to transport or possess a marijuana-infused product in or upon a motor vehicle for the use of his or her child, spouse, or parent who is a qualifying patient only if the marijuana-infused product is in a sealed and labeled package. In this case, the label must state the weight of the infused product in ounces, name of the manufacturer, date of manufacture, name of the qualifying patient, and, if applicable, name of the person from whom the marijuana-infused product was received and date of receipt.
The growing and use of medical marijuana by card holders in Michigan is a regulated process with strict laws that should be strictly followed to ensure that you maintain your privilege status. Non-compliance result in prosecution leading to jail terms and/or civil fines. It is therefore important as a card holder to be aware of these laws and observe them to ensure a maximum and continuous benefit from medical marijuana.