Most medical marijuana attorneys and patients know that Michigan is considering voting to legalize Marijuana for recreational use. This has led many medical marijuana lawyers in Michigan to wonder whether the state will treat legal and medicinal purchases the same, or whether the State will provide additional benefits or rights to medical marijuana uses. For example, it is likely that the state will allow patients under the age of 21 to still have access to medical cannabis. Some states like California have taken this even further and exempted medical marijuana from additional taxation.
For lawyers in Michigan, the first step to answering this question is to look to the definition of “medical” marijuana. The Michigan Medical Marihuana Act provides medical marijuana attorneys a good starting point. The statute sets out qualifying conditions that allow doctors with a bona fide physician-patient relationship to prescribe legal medical marijuana. The MMMA allows for Michigan’s Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (“LARA”) to add additional conditions to this list. LARA, therefore, has the power to expand the definition of medical marijuana in the State of Michigan.
So what does this mean for patients? While it is unlikely that LARA will expand the definition prior to the November 2018 ballot, the “medical marijuana” definition could be expanded by LARA depending on who voters elect as governor in 2018. With U.S. legal marijuana possibly coming to Michigan, and with the possibility of new research shedding further light on THC’s medical benefits, LARA could greatly expand the definition of medical marijuana beyond the conditions listed in the MMMA. This would allow access to Medical Marijuana for those under the age of 21 for conditions and could potentially provide more favorable tax treatment to patients.