Last Updated on July 3, 2023 by Beth Skwarecki
Despite the federal outlook on cannabis, more and more states are coming to recognize its potential usefulness in helping with mental health conditions like anxiety and depression, and insomnia and helping alleviate chronic pain.
Twenty-three states, including Michigan, have legalized the recreational consumption of marijuana, and over thirty-eight have at least some partial legalization of its use for medical purposes. If you are a resident of one of these thirty-eight states and have been using marijuana for self-medication, here are some great reasons to get a medical marijuana card.
It’s Easier Than Ever
When the medicinal use of marijuana became legalized in states like California in 1996, there was a limited number of conditions for which its use was applicable, primarily as a source of pain relief for conditions like cancer and HIV, and glaucoma. Moreover, getting a medical card required a consultation with a medical professional who would have to verify the patient’s claims, and with doctors having a skeptical view of cannabis, reflective of society, most were resistant to its use for patient treatment.
Since then, research has discovered many medical applications for cannabis, particularly in helping treat mental health conditions like anxiety, PTSD, and depression. Moreover, there is a greater acceptance for cannabis users, who are now not seen as inherently deviant due to their drug consumption.
The process has consequently become quite streamlined. In some states, you can do it in the comfort of your home, like getting a Michigan Medical Marijuana Card Online, where you can get an online consultation with the doctor who can approve your condition.
Most states recognize the use of marijuana for helping treat conditions like anxiety and chronic pain, and usually have a low threshold of proof and are often based on whether or not the patient themselves thinks they have these problems.
Medical Marijuana Card Keeps You Out Of Trouble
If you live in a state where marijuana is only partially legal, anything deemed recreational consumption is still against the law. Even if you are consuming cannabis to self-medicate, it still qualifies as recreational consumption unless your use is certified by a professional through a medical marijuana card.
The penalty for marijuana use without a medical card in states with partial legalization depends on the individual state. In many, marijuana is decriminalized, so you will only face fines if caught. In fifteen states, the use of marijuana is still a criminal offense. An example is Oklahoma, where despite the state having a broad medical marijuana problem, possession of any amount of marijuana is deemed a misdemeanor punishable by fines or up to one year in prison. Any subsequent offense will be charged as a felony and can therefore result in much longer sentencing.
It Enables Easy Access
Having a medical marijuana card enables you to access your state’s medical dispensaries from where you can purchase the cannabis you need. Medical dispensaries offer safe access with guaranteed quality control, so you do not have to worry about what you are ingesting, whether it has any additives or has been tampered with.
Even in states where the use of marijuana is recreationally legal, a marijuana card can still be crucial for dealing with dry spells that can arise due to a shortage of products or a change in government policy that affects the number of recreational marijuana dispensaries. It was seen during the pandemic when Charlie Baker declared that recreational dispensaries would be closed in Massachusetts due to the number of out-of-state visitors they attract. A medical marijuana card keeps you prepped for sudden changes and ensures non-interrupted access to the herb.
Help With Stigma
Despite these evolving attitudes, there is still some stigma to the use of cannabis, especially amongst older generations and in states where the recreational use of marijuana is still a criminal offense. Its consumption can create problems in your personal and professional life. While medical marijuana cards do not offer their users any employment law protection, there is an increasing trend of employers accommodating marijuana use where the use is for medical reasons.
Further, while there may be a stigma against drug use, a medical card can undo much of that stigma. A medical marijuana card serves the function of any other doctor’s prescription. Recognition by a doctor that your use is for medical purposes will add an air of legitimacy to your cannabis consumption.
It Prevents the Denial Of Benefits
Historically, a person could not gain unemployment benefits when fired for failing a drug test. While the law still permits companies to have policies that exclude their employees from marijuana consumption, even with a medical card, having a card can help prevent you from being denied benefits.
In Michigan, the state’s Supreme Court ruled that they can’t prevent anyone from accessing unemployment benefits if they tested positive for marijuana where they have a medical card. It is important to remember that different states will have different rules, but having a marijuana card at least offers you some legal coverage.
A medical marijuana card, also known as a registry identification card, is issued by the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA) to qualifying patients and caregivers. It grants legal access to purchase, possess, and use medical marijuana in the state.
To qualify in Michigan, you must be a resident of the state and have a qualifying medical condition certified by a licensed physician. The qualifying conditions include chronic pain, cancer, HIV/AIDS, glaucoma, epilepsy, Crohn’s disease, multiple sclerosis, and others.
The application fee for a medical marijuana card in Michigan is determined by the state and may vary. As of my knowledge cutoff in September 2021, the fee for a patient application was $60, while a caregiver application was $25. However, these fees are subject to change, so it’s recommended to check the latest fee information on the MMMP website or contact LARA directly.
No, Michigan does not accept out-of-state medical marijuana cards. To legally use medical marijuana in Michigan, you must obtain a medical marijuana card issued by the state.
The processing time for a medical marijuana card in Michigan can vary. Generally, it takes around 15 business days to receive your card after submitting a complete application. However, during busy periods, it may take longer. It’s advisable to submit your application well in advance to account for any potential delays.
Marijuana consumption is growing, especially among young adults. As more and more people are using marijuana, it is vital to remember to take all the precautions to ensure that your use is safe. A medical marijuana card means your consumption is legal and that you have access to quality medical-grade marijuana to help treat medical conditions that you may have.
Beth is Cloudmineinc’s senior health editor and a certified personal trainer. She has over 10 years experience as a science journalist and is the author of two books. She deadlifts over 315 lbs.