So you have a health condition that’s bothering you and you’ve read about medical marijuana as a solution. It seems like something you want to try, but getting started isn’t obvious. With 11 new conditions in Michigan that qualify patients for a medical marijuana card, there’s no better time to give it a try.
If you want a Michigan Medical Marijuana card, here are eight things you need to do or keep in mind.
- Review the list of conditions. You’ll need a diagnosis that meets the criteria that Michigan has approved. While some are very specific, pain is more general and it’s the most common ailment on the application form according to the State of Michigan.
- Download and print the paperwork from LARA, the state licensing board.
- Make an appointment with your physician. One of two things will happen next. You’ll go to your doctor and s/he will sign the paperwork and you’ll write the check for the filing fee ($60) and you’ll wait about three weeks and your card will come in the mail if you’re approved. A more common scenario is you’re reluctant to tell your physician you want to try medical marijuana or if you do ask, s/he refuses to sign the paperwork. There are other options, including physicians that are cannabis advocates who work in clinics that do this work for the good of the cannabis community. You’ll meet with her/him for a short examination and they’ll confirm your diagnosis and sign the paperwork for you. If you have access to any extras—xray results, physician notes, physical therapy notes bring those along. You need to show that you have the condition you claim to have. Some clinics will send it in for you, too, but we recommend you do this yourself so you know when it was mailed. Finding a clinic is as easy as web searching for Michigan Medical Marijuana card +your location.
- You’ll be asked on the form about a caregiver. This is an individual who grows cannabis for patients. If you don’t have one, don’t check the box. Check the box that says I will possess the plants. That doesn’t mean you have to start growing, but you could if you wanted to. With your card that says NO CAREGIVER on the back, you’ll need to visit a provisioning center for your meds. You can find one close to you on Leafly or Weedmaps. We have a blog post about how to visit a provisioning center.
- Your card is good mostly in Michigan. There are a few states that allow reciprocity, but not many. The recreational states are, of course, open to anyone. But if you’re in Florida, you can’t use your Michigan card there. In Michigan though, medical cards from other states are allowed in some, but not all provisioning centers. Call ahead to make sure.
Here are a few other things to keep in mind as a holder of a new medical marijuana card.
- If you’re traveling, keep in mind it’s a felony to bring cannabis across state lines. So, you have to leave your medication behind. The safest solution is to enjoy some of America’s recreational legal states (Colorado, California, Nevada, Oregon, Washington, Alaska, Maine, Vermont, Massachusetts and the District of Columbia) until the whole country ends prohibition You can also head to Canada for a nice vacation, the whole country will be recreational legal starting on October 17, 2018. This also applies to people flying. While the TSA isn’t looking for cannabis, it is still illegal to bring it across state lines.
- If you’re traveling around Michigan, keep your cannabis is the trunk of your car. Better yet, put it in a locked box in your trunk. Never leave it out in plain sight on the seat next to you.
- You can’t consume (smoke) your medication in a public place, in your car or in a hotel/motel. That’s limiting for sure. Edibles are super handy for travel or find friends who don’t mind if you consume.
You did it! You took the bold step and got your Michigan Medical Marijuana card. Congratulations. Now, what do you do? Most physicians don’t talk about that; some places will guide you, but for the most part, you are on your own to figure it out. We’re here to help.
Here are some tips to help build your confidence at the medical marijuana provisioning center.
- First off, you don’t have to go to a provisioning center, you can choose to work with an individual caregiver. Finding a caregiver isn’t as easy as walking into a provisioning center though. In all likelihood, you’ll need to know someone who grows cannabis and is accepting patients. If you don’t know someone, you’ll need to ask around. In Michigan, caregivers are limited to 5 patients so it can be challenging to find someone who is accepting patients. You’ll want to see their plants, as about their growing processes and talk with them about the strains you can buy from them. You’ll want a caregiver who grows and processes what you need. If you go the provisioning center route, below are some tips so you can look like you’ve been doing it for years.
- Be prepared. You’ll need your card, photo ID and cash. Expect security at the door of most places, sometimes it’s a camera system, others have a guard and others have a thick plexiglass window like the cable TV office. It can be intimidating, but your security is as important as the product they’re protecting. In most cases, you’ll be buzzed in and at that point, you get your ID and card back. The waiting areas range from comfy-cozy to spartan. Most have a TV and a few magazines, at the least. Many marijuana provisioning centers have ATMs, too.
- Do your research before you go. Both Leafly or WeedMaps are great resources for researching strains and getting information. Ask your friends about strains and products that they love. It’s good to have an idea of what you want, or think you want when you go into a provisioning center. You don’t want to be sold something that doesn’t help your condition. Read a few of the reviews and see if anything people are saying resonates with you.
- Not all stores are alike and you need to find a place you’re comfortable. Some carry a wide variety of products, others are very industrial, some just carry flower (the term for dried marijuana) offer few choices in edibles or tinctures or CBD products. You need to find a place that fits your needs, personality and buying style. Most marijuana provisioning centers post menus on Leafly or Weedmaps and from that, you can determine what you want to try.
- Talk with the budtender at your counter. They should be able to talk with you about the health condition you are treating, the strains they have available and your preference for consumption. Feel free to ask questions and if they don’t know, ask if someone else knows. If they seem uneducated or a bad fit for you, feel free to leave. You aren’t obliged to buy anything.
- Expect your purchasing experience to be semi-private. After you clear security or the check-in area, you SHOULD be at a one on one space with your budtender, it’s likely there will be two or three counters in one open room and you should have one counter and one budtender to yourself. The counters all have the same products, so don’t be worried that you’re not getting something that someone else is. If you see something behind the counter that catches your eye, ask to see it. All of the products are going to be out of reach.
- You can ask to smell the cannabis flower which is usually in sealed glass containers. Ask the budtender if it’s ok, they’ll open the jar and let you smell it. Just don’t touch, it’s medicine and shouldn’t be contaminated with hand germs!
- You can buy just a tiny bit of flower if you want to try it out. Ask for a gram, that’s enough for a few joints (depending on how you roll) and it will give you an idea of what you’re getting and the effect. Cannabis is priced starting in grams and up to an ounce and the Budtender can tell you the prices, or it’ll be posted. Look for and ask about specials and other items that are available.
- Put your purchases in the trunk of your car after you leave the provisioning center. If you have a small lockbox, bring it for transporting. It’s a good practice.
- When you’re done, review your experience and tell others how it worked for you. It’s one way to give back to the cannabis community and to help the marijuana provisioning center improve their customer service and educate others.