Michigan medical mariuana program changes start today


Some big changes to Michigan’s medical marijuana laws go into effect today, including extending the length of time a recommendation is good for, redefining a doctor-patient relationship and clarifying who can be a state-registered caregiver.

Currently, there are more than 131,000 medical marijuana patients in Michigan, one of the largest medical marijuana patient populations of any of the 18 states that allow for medical cannabis. State leaders felt that number was a little too high apparently, arguing that it was too easy to get a doctor’s recommendation. So House Bill 4851 was created and passed in the 2012 session to require patients to have face-to-face meetings with a doctor as well as schedule a follow-up appointment.
Also going into effect is House Bill 4834, which extends the active date of the $100 state patient registration to two years from the date it was issued instead of just one. A third bill, HB 4856, requires patients keep their stash in the trunk of their car when driving – or if there is no trunk, in an inaccessible location in the car.
One of the major changes, though, could potentially thin out the roughly 27,000 caregivers in the state, each allowed to cultivate cannabis for up to five people. The changes require that caregivers must not have any prior assault charges and must have a clean felony record within the last ten years.
Michigan medical marijuana attorney Michael Komorn told WXYZ 7 that he wasn’t pleased with the caregiver changes. “Many patients who have developed relationships over the last four years with caregivers are going to lose their safe access to cannabis,” he said. He noted that the move would prevent husbands or wives with felonies for care giving for their spouse.
This isn’t the end of marijuana-related bills this session, either. House Bill 4271 was introduced in February and would allow for dispensaries in the state. A state Supreme Court ruled earlier this year that dispensaires are not legal in the state, though several have remained open since the ruling. House bill 4271 would create a workaround for local municipalities to license “provisioning centers”.