Apr 012010
 April 1, 2010

I read a recent press release about a new medical marijuana clinic opening in Michigan. I have authored articles in the past about how to get a medical marijuana card in Oregon (my home state), and figured I would explain how to get one in Michigan as well. It’s a lot easier than most people think.

First off, you have to have an ‘approvable condition.’ In Michigan, these include; agitation of Alzheimer’s disease, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, cancer, Crohn’s disease, glaucoma, hepatitis C, HIV/AIDS, nail patella, cachexia or wasting syndrome, severe nausea, severe & chronic pain, seizures, severe/persistent muscle spasms. You might be thinking to yourself, ‘I know I don’t have some of those conditions, but I do have aches and pains, and have had muscle spasms/nausea in the past. But I am confused as to what constitutes enough of these pains/spasms/nausea in order for it to be ‘severe, persistent, and/or chronic?’

The parallels of Michigan and Oregon are extremely similar; the process from the start until you physically get your card is pretty much identical, including the fees involved. The only part that is different is the limits, which I will explain later, and provide links. In no way am I recommending that a person fake a condition, I am simply telling people how I got MY medical card, and how people can do the same thing in Michigan. Be responsible! Here is a step by step of what I did in Oregon, and how to apply it in Michigan:

Day 1 — I went into my personal doctor and said, “My wrists and hands hurt from overuse. I don’t know if it’s carpal tunnel syndrome, or arthritis, or if I’m just a hypochondriac, but I really do have pain in my hands and wrists. I type a lot, write a lot, text message a TON, and generally do a lot of activities with my hands.” I could tell that my doctor was suspicious that I wanted painkillers, so I told him, “I DO NOT want painkillers. Are there natural ways, such as stretches, that I can do to alleviate my pain?” My doctor told me to take an over the counter painkiller and come back in 30 days if the symptoms didn’t subside. Considering the pain had been with me for a couple years at that point, I was certain that I would be back. Especially since I refuse to take painkillers of any kind that are not natural remedies. Pills are no good in my opinion.

Day 31 — I went back to my doctor to inform him that I still had the pain in my hands and wrists, and that I didn’t take the over-the-counter painkillers for the reasons I stated previously. I asked him once again, “Are there any natural things I can do to relieve my pain, such as stretches or changes in my daily activities?” My doctor gave me a couple of wrist braces that I was supposed to wear when I experienced the pain. I pointed out that I have this pain, at least mildly, at all times. He instructed me to wear the braces constantly. This was incredibly unrealistic, as I couldn’t even safely wear them when I was driving. At this point I had two options; go to expensive physical therapy and wear braces all day, or I could go to another doctor that would prescribe me a medical marijuana card.

***In order to get a medical marijuana card, you DO NOT have to get your doctor to prescribe it. What I just did in my two visits to MY OWN DOCTOR was establish a ‘chronic pain,’ which is defined in Oregon as ‘two visits for the same pain in the last 12 month period of time.’ Check with Michigan to see what their definition of ‘chronic pain’ is, but in all of my research it has always been 2 visits in a 12 month period of time, and that’s what I am told by my friends who have medical cards in Michigan. You don’t have to use ‘chronic pain,’ you can use any ailment that is approved by Michigan. However, chronic pain is an approvable condition, and back spasms, a ‘bad back,’ gimp leg, bum arm, wrist pain, frequent headaches, etc, are all ‘chronic pains’ as long as you go in 2 times in a 12 month span of time.***

Once I had two visits on my record, I had my medical records faxed from MY DOCTOR’S OFFICE to the MEDICAL MARIJUANA CLINIC where a doctor would sign my forms. Most clinics do not take new patients; they only take patients with ‘established conditions.’ Go to YOUR doctor and ‘establish it,’ much like I did on day 1 and 31. Then fax your records to the nearest medical marijuana clinic (note — not all medical clinics are the same, research and find one that has a good reputation).

The Michigan Medical Marijuana Certification Center is the clinic that I read about in the article, and their prices are the same as the clinic I go to in Oregon. I think the fees are reasonable, which is why I have gone back for multiple years to renew. After that fax gets to the clinic, and you come in with the proper fees, CONGRATULATIONS. The only thing left to do is get the paperwork to the appropriate state government agency (in Michigan it is MDCH). You are now in the medical marijuana club, medicate yourself responsibly!!!! The limits in Michigan are 2.5 dried ounces and up to 12 plants in an enclosed, locked facility (no outdoor gardening!). In Oregon, per card, we can have up to 24 dried ounces, 6 mature plants, and 18 immature plants. Plus, outdoor gardening is prime time in our spring/summer weather, so we grow the trees BIG IN OREGON.

P.S. – If you can get your regular doctor to sign the damn forms, you can side step this entire process. Maybe someday medical doctors will do what’s best for their patients, instead of letting social norms and personal political views dictate how they treat their patients…

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About Johnny Green

Johnny Green is a marijuana activist from Oregon. He has a Bachelor's Degree in Public Policy. Follow Johnny Green on Facebook and Twitter. Also, feel free to email any concerns.
  • StoneTown

    Not sure if anyone still replies to this anymore but here’s my situation: I have been diagnosed with POTS (postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome ) and at times I get very very dizzy and feel uncomfortable and very dizzy which makes me feel nauseas for a day or two straight.
    This is something else I get: when I get stressed out (used to get very stressed in high school. Just finished, couldn’t find a job so I’ve been stress free) I get bad chest pains due to inflammation.
    I absolutely despise taking pills, I don’t even like taking large vitamins.
    Anyway, I’m in Michigan, would I qualify for a medical marijuana card? I use cannabis already to treat these issues but I can’t medicate often because I need to pass a drug test that I’ll most likely have to take if I hear back about a job position.

    • nickstc

      Yes but I work for a union company and my rep told me companies including mine can refuse to hire you or even fire you for failing a drug test even if you have your card the problem is under federal law it is still considered a drug and during the hearing they can use the federal definition many unions are working on amending the act to protect workers but it takes time California did but all it dose is make the employer fire you in a way you can still get unemployment hope this helps

  • the real truth

    I’ve been in chronic pain for 17 yrs. now due to a disease which fuses my spine together on its own no help from the surgeons on top of that I have numerous other painful disease’s .and I’m sorry to say that most people on weed due it because they’re potheads.all pot does is make so you relax and which in turn because your muscles are now relaxed makes your brain think no more pain.the only thing it is good for is the nausea that all my other meds. give me.plus on top of that it just made the drug dealers legal and able to double the price.Thanks fellow potheads for really taking advantage of your fellow potheads pain

  • patrick

    how long do u have to live in michigan to get ur card

  • patrick

    oes anyone know this answer i can’t find it anywhere but im still looking just figured id put that out their

  • Lucas

    I have severe anxiety and my psychiatrist in NYC suggested I continue using marijuana to help it. I am from Michigan with a Michigan address and am here for 6 more weeks and want to get my card and purchase some. I also have aches and headaches who j accompany my anxiety. What are the best courses of actions? Thanks!!

  • macdo’s mark

    i live in michigan and i need my card cause i love weed. seems reasonable enough to me doctors should just hand them out cause lets be realistic about it. you have to do so much stupid shit to get it..go green

  • Gina2112

    I saw the doctor and had my paperwork approved months ago. My caregiver was supposed to file it but still hasn’t. I’m wondering if I HAVE to have a caregiver in order to submit the paperwork to the state for consideration.

  • robert

    wtf research it how can you make informed decisions

  • CHRISHR

    CAN A INDIANA RESIDENT GET A MICHIGAN LISENCE?

  • Stricken23

    I haven’t seen my physician in years. Walked into a clinic on Gratiot, told the Doc what I was experiencing, signed my forms, boom in and out within an hour. That was last night, today just mailed my paperwork to Lansing. So if your like me and worried about having to go through this monthly long process, don’t, you’ll get it no problem.

    • MI9

      Where on gratiot?

  • BigRed

    Does chronic depression qualify as far as getting the medical marijuana card. Also does it matter what kind of doctor you go to, because my doctor is an endochronologist.

  • http://mompart2.com/ Theresa

    But how much is the process once you have an established condition? And what about the marijuana? How does a disabled person on a limited income afford the cost??

    • nickstc

      Depends on the doctor

    • tcpat119

      it was 120 for my doctor visit and another 100 to state. its only 25 if u r on social security or disability
      the cost is (depends on caregiver) covered or traded for the ability for the grower to grow more plants….
      if a grower grew 12 of your plants (the legal max amount) they may give you 1 or 2 each crop at no cost so that you may have meds and not b over your limit. they would in return supply other patients with the leftover to secure donations for time and efforts…deals can be anything the patient and grower decide within legal limits…
      no cash is paid straight in exchange for medicine, but one can donate to keep medicine grow funded…its kindof a funny weird relationship they forced on grower and patients

  • Lavern Hill

    i was wundering i hear that they give a card for kidney failiar i was wundering if it was the same for kidney disease which i have had from birth been to the doctor millions of times and i have spina bifida which means pain for breakfast lunch and dinner. iv been taking muscle relaxers and i wunder if i just take my records to the center would i even need to have another doctors visit?

  • Gail Willson

    I live in Northern Michigan and I suffer from several serious health problems. And unfortunately, I was diagnosed with Stage 2 Vulvar Cancer a month ago as well. I know that I qualified for the card even before the Big “C” word came into play, but my family doctor does surprise pee tests for marijuana and they say that if they find it they will no longer treat me. I have been on Immediate Release Morphine for years now and it no longer works yet my doctor won’t increase the prescription or help with an alternative. I want to get my medical marijuana card because, frankly, I am tired of all of the side effects of all of the meds I am currently taking. Cymbalta for Fibromyalgia, Morphine for my bladder disease (IC) which works like a cancer, Xanax for the anxiety and shakes I get from just trying to get through one day with all of the pain. That is only a few of them. Now I have to have surgery next month to cut away tissue involved with the Vulvar Cancer Tumors. I have to take 2 kinds of laxatives daily because every med I am on binds you up. I’m tired. Tired of it all. I have been disabled since 2006 and my disability income doesn’t go very far. I don’t qualify for help from the DHS because my $900 a month is too much money. In fact, they just reduced my Foodstamps to $54 per month. How is a person supposed to survive on that? Is there help out there for someone like me? I can’t afford much of anything. Are there organizations that will help you pay to get the card?? I don’t know where to turn.

    • tcpat119

      if you feel you will have no problem medically obtaining your card, i would suggest talking to a caregiver (ads r often at local compassion clinics) and they may fund all your expenses for you so that they can grow for you.
      patients plant numbers are very important to caregivers. your card hold weight and you could use it towards obtaining a card.

  • Amy

    This is amazing, youre so helpful!!! and i love how you go into details. Thank you!!!

  • chester

    I went to the doctor for back pain and they recommended physical therapy. What should I so