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John W. Fraser
John W. Fraser
Attorney • (517) 393-3000

Understanding Michigan’s Medical Marijuana Laws: 2008’s Michigan Medical Marihuana Act

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This post is the first in a series of posts designed toward providing some basic background information about the legal status of marijuana under Michigan law. This area of the law is complicated, confusing, and changing on an almost daily basis. Attorneys, judges, police officers, and medical marijuana patients and caregivers struggle with understanding some of these concepts, so our hope is to help provide some basic guidance so that you can understand your rights.

Generally speaking, there are two principle laws in Michigan that govern medical marijuana: (1) 2008’s Michigan Medical Marihuana Act and (2) 2016’s Medical Marihuana Facilities Licensing Act.

To begin, marijuana is still illegal under both federal law and Michigan law. It is illegal to possess, cultivate, use, or transfer marijuana under both federal law and Michigan law. However, in 2008, Michigan voters overwhelmingly voted in favor of a ballot initiative to allow the medical use of marijuana in Michigan. This ballot initiative became the Michigan Medical Marihuana Act (commonly known as the “MMMA”).

It is important to note that the MMMA did not legalize marijuana in Michigan. As I said before, marijuana is still illegal under both federal law and Michigan law. Instead, the MMMA can best be described as providing legal protections for patients suffering from serious medical conditions, such as cancer or multiple sclerosis, whose doctors recommended medical marijuana to treat their conditions. The MMMA’s protections allow patients to grow, use, and possess marijuana—so long as the patient is compliant with the MMMA. The MMMA also extended that protection to allow patients to designate caregivers to assist them in cultivating marijuana plants.

Since the adoption of the MMMA, Michiganders have used medical marihuana to treat serious medical conditions. As of September 30, 2016, there were 218,556 licensed medical marijuana patients in Michigan. Medical marijuana patients in Michigan have been tireless advocates to ensure that they have access to their medicine that grants them relief from their serious and debilitating medical conditions. Studies have shown that medical marijuana is an effective tool in combating the opioid crisis, and the topic has received bipartisan support.

We’ve briefly touched on the background and development of Michigan’s marijuana laws. My next post will focus on the legal protections offered by the MMMA for patients and caregivers. If you are interested in learning more about Michigan’s medical marijuana laws, including obtaining licensing for a medical marijuana business, please contact the experienced medical marijuana attorneys at Grewal Law PLLC.

4 Comments

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  1. Neal Foster says:
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    80 years old, Use medical marijuana for pain.

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    Hello! Mr.Fraser

    Would you know that arrested are up 17% here in Michigan for Medical Cannabis
    And when the new Law come into affect Dec.15 2017, this Law firm will make $$$

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    Mr.Neal Foster

    I hope you know that if you grow medical marihuana and get caught you can louse you home and all the things you’ve work for all you life
    it happens more then people think so just do your home work first and come and join the MMMA.org

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    Hi Robert, I’ve actually just added another post that outlines some of the legal protections offered to patients and caregivers by the MMMA and the ways to keep yourself protected. You can find the post here: http://lansing.legalexaminer.com/uncategorized/understanding-michigans-medical-marijuana-laws-section-4-immunity-under-the-mmma/