Debilitating Medical Condition
The MMA defines a "debilitating medical condition" as: cancer, glaucoma, HIV, hepatitis C, and other diseases along with other chronic afflictions which cause pain and nausea. An applicant cannot just say he or she suffers from a debilitating condition; this must be verified by a physician. Because this is a new law, many traditional family doctors may reject your request to certify your health condition and recommend treatment. This has quickly become a "specialty" area of medicine; physician groups and other holistic oriented doctors now openly advertise in print and on the web via hyper-local ads.
The Certification Process & Physician Examination
A. Medical Record Collection. Certifying physicians require you to execute a release to obtain your medical records. These records are then reviewed for an initial determination as to whether you are a qualified patient. B. Physician Review. If you are deemed qualified after the record collection and review, you will be examined by a physician to assess and evaluate your condition. C. Certification Exam. Your physician will assess your qualification for certification of a debilitating medical condition. If you are qualified, the physician will sign a Certification Form attesting to your condition.
Application for Identification Card Issued by Michigan Dept of Community Health
Once you have a physician-signed Certification Form, you will need to complete the official "Application for Medical Marijuana Identification Card". A $100 application fee is required. In the past year, the Michigan DCH has processed more than 30,000 applications and renewals. To date, over 17,000 certifications have been issued while just over 7000 applications have been denied. The MDCH is admittedly backlogged as demand for the identification cards exceeded expectations. There is a 4/5 month delay between MDCH's receipt of a completed application and issuance of the card.
MMA Terms You Will Want to Know
A "primary caregiver" is defined as, "a person who is at least 21 years old and who has agreed to assist with a patient's medical use of marijuana and who has never been convicted of a felony involving illegal drugs." A "qualifying patient" is "a person who has been diagnosed by a physician as having a debilitating medical condition." "Debilitating Medical Condition" is cancer, glaucoma, HIV, hepatitis C, and other diseases along with other chronic afflictions which cause pain and nausea.
What Does the Identification Card Do for You?
Identification cardholders are not subject to arrest or prosecution for marijuana possession/distribution provided the patient keeps less than 2.5 ounces of smokeable pot. Care providers are allowed to maintain up to 12 plants for each qualified patient; stems, seeds and unusable roots do not count toward the plant limitation. When marijuana is distributed to persons other than qualified patients, the caregiver's registration card is revoked, and the care provider is subject to a 2-year felony. Also, a patient cannot drive while under the influence of marijuana; nor can pot be smoked in public. Use or possession of pot on or near school premises or on school buses remains prohibited.