Michigan allows medical marijuana use under the circumstances described below. People who use marijuana for medical reasons, but who do not follow Michigan's procedures, can be punished with the same penalties imposed for illegal marijuana use and possession, depending on the amount illegally used or possessed.
To learn more about Michigan marijuana laws and penalties for illegal use or possession, see Michigan Marijuana Laws.
Those who follow the medical marijuana use procedures may not drive under the influence of marijuana, and other laws regarding marijuana possession for non-medical purposes will still apply.
For information on driving under the influence charges in Michigan, see Driving Under the Influence of Marijuana in Michigan.
Michigan Medical Marijuana Use Procedures
Michigan allows medical marijuana use by patients who have been diagnosed by a physician as having a debilitating medical condition. Each patient may designate one primary caregiver to help the patient cultivate medicinal marijuana.
This law removes the criminal penalties that would otherwise apply to nonmedical marijuana possession and use. To gain such protection, patients must obtain a written recommendation from a physician, register with the state, and obtain a registry identification card. Primary caregivers must also register with the state and possess a registry identification card. Physicians and paraphernalia sellers are also protected from civil and criminal penalties for providing bona fide prescriptions or paraphernalia, respectively. (Mich. Comp. Laws Ann. § 333.26424(4)(a),(f)&(g).)
Legal Possession Amounts
A patient may possess and use up to two and one half ounces of usable marijuana, and may cultivate up to 12 marijuana plants (when kept in an enclosed, locked facility). Primary caregivers may possess—but not use—these amounts for each qualifying patient, and may be paid for their costs without violating the marijuana cultivation and distribution laws. (Mich. Comp. Laws Ann. § 333.26424(4)(a)&(e).)
Presumption of medical use
A patient or caregiver who possesses a state registry ID card is presumed to be in possession of marijuana for medical purposes, if the amount possessed is within the legal limits described above. However, this presumption may be rebutted with evidence that shows that the marijuana was possessed or used for non-medical purposes. (Mich. Comp. Laws Ann. § 333.26424(4)(d).)
Effect on minor custody or visitation
A patient or primary caregiver cannot be denied custody or visitation of a minor child for acting in accordance with this law, unless the prosecution can clearly show, with substantiating evidence, that the activities cause an unreasonable danger to the minor. (Mich. Comp. Laws Ann. § 333.26424(4)(c).)
Penalties for Illegal Sale and Use by Patients or Caregivers
A qualifying patient or caregiver may not sell marijuana for nonmedical purposes. Doing so is a felony. In addition to the applicable penalties for marijuana sales, the patient or caregiver will be fined up to $2,000, imprisoned for up to two years, or both. (Mich. Comp. Laws Ann. § 333.26424(4)(k).)
An Important Note on Local Legal Representation
If you have been charged with a marijuana-related offense, consult an experienced criminal defense attorney. While the penalties and consequences of a marijuana charge are governed by statutory law, only a local criminal defense attorney can tell you how cases like yours tend to be handled by prosecutors and judges in your courthouse.