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9 Reasons to Keep Your Medical Marijuana Card

If you are a Michigan resident should you keep your medical marijuana card active or apply for one if you have a condition that is approved for a medical marijuana license?  Since the new law was passed, and recreational marijuana is now legal, you may have been wondering which is more beneficial.

Experts (Leafly and other sources) recommend keeping your medical card if you want access to legal marijuana.  Currently in Michigan that is your only option, short of growing your own, to be able to obtain your medication as recreational stores are not expected to be open until 2020.  

Unfortunately, we now have a limited number of medical marijuana dispensaries open.  The latest deadline has come and gone with no extension to allow the dispensaries to stay open if they have applied for a license but it has not yet been granted.  

Michigan with over 300,000 patients has the second largest number of medical marijuana cards issued.  As a medical marijuana patient, there are several things to keep in mind when deciding to renew or obtain a medical marijuana license.

  1. As mentioned above, for another year medical marijuana will be the only legally sold cannabis product.  If you want to access legal marijuana it will need to be from a medical dispensary, a caregiver, or grown on your own.

  2. Recreational marijuana laws only apply to those 21 and older.  Medical marijuana, however, can be prescribed to minors. All of the states that have medical marijuana laws allow minors to access it.

  3. Employers in Michigan may still be working on new HR policies now that recreational marijuana has been legalized.  There is a chance that an employer may be more tolerant of medical use as opposed to recreational use.

  4. The same is true for housing.  Landlords may allow consumption of medical marijuana while prohibiting usage of recreational marijuana on their property.  

  5. You may have cost savings involved with purchasing medical marijuana instead of recreational marijuana.  In Michigan, recreational will have an added excise tax of 10%, which is low compared to other states, however medical marijuana does not have that additional excise tax.  Michigan’s application fee is $60 and must be renewed every 2 years. There are also physician visits required to obtain a license. Take these costs into consideration when doing a cost analysis when determining which is the greater value for you.

  6. The amount that an individual can cultivate or possess in Michigan is similar between recreational and medical laws, but other states do have significant differences.  Michigan medical marijuana limits are 2.5 ounces in your possession and you may grow 12 plants. Recreational laws allow for 2.5 ounces in your possession, another 10 ounces at home and you may grow up to 12 plants.  

  7. Some states allow medical marijuana consumption in public - Michigan is not one of those states. Get to know the laws of the state you will be visiting to understand where you may consume marijuana.  Both medical and recreational marijuana must be consumed on private property and out of view from the public.

  8. There are states that have reciprocal buying privileges if you hold a medical marijuana card.  While it is allowed in Michigan, Arizona, Pennsylvania, Nevada, Rhode Island, Maine, and New Hampshire, it is solely at the discretion of the dispensary owner.  

  9. Potency levels may vary between medical and recreational marijuana.  Retail shops have to abide by an upper limit of potency for recreational marijuana and marijuana products.  Medical dispensaries may be allowed to sell products with higher potency levels.

Connie Maxim-Sparrow