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How to Get a registry ID Card or assert the affirmative defense. Step one: Get a medical opinion.
Check any Michigan Doctor's Credentials: Enter the physician's name (and specify D.O. or M.D.) in this official Search Engine
Do you know a medical condition not on the official state List of Debilitating Medical Conditions: Download Petition to Add a Condition
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NEWS: Registry ID Card Program Began April 4th, 2009. Official State Registry ID Program Forms now available for download. If you have a form off this website it will be accepted, but for purposes of supporting the applications you can also use the official form that is part of the offical application packet.
Medical Use of Marijuana is Specifically Authorized By Michigan Law to treat or alleviate many medical conditions and their symptoms. The new Michigan Medical Marijuana Act states, "The medical use of marijuana is allowed under state law to the extent that it is carried out in accordance with the provisions of this act." Enacted by over 3,000,000 voters in a landslide election (63%) on November 4, 2008, Prop 1 is now to be cites as the "Michigan Medical Marihuana Act." The law took effect 10 days after the official declaration of the vote, took place November 24, 2008. The affirmative defense applies to any prosecution pending on or after December 4, 2008, the effective date of the Act. Patients, and their doctors, have two sets of options under the Michigan Medical Marijuana Act. Which one is right for you or your loved one depends on your circumstances, and in many situations a person can take advantage of both protections. Any person qualified for formal certification is also qualified to assert the affirmative defense, although not all persons qualified for a statement supporting the affirmative defense are necessarily qualified for formal certification and registry ID card.
Under the Registry ID Card program a patient is immune from "arrest, prosecution, or penalty in any manner, or denied any right or privilege, including but not limited to civil penalty or disciplinary action by a business or occupational or professional licensing board or bureau" for medicinal use or possession of marijuana. Even the qualifying patient's marijuana "shall not be seized or forfeited".
Under a statutory "Affirmative Defense", a person not in possession of a registry card, or not within the strict quantity limitations of the Registry ID Card program, a person will likely be arrested " may assert the medical purpose for using marihuana in a motion to dismiss, and the charges shall be dismissed following an evidentiary hearing " or at trial "may assert the medical purpose for using marihuana as a defense to any prosecution involving marihuana". The defense also applies to any "disciplinary action by a business or occupational or professional licensing board or bureau; or forfeiture of any interest in or right to property."
The Registry ID Card Program, which requires advance application and $100/yr fee ($25 if you are on public assistance), establishes a prophylactic protection from legal consequences, but has a somewhat limited scope. Only certain conditions qualify, and the diagnosed condition must be disclosed and certified by the doctor. The affirmative defense, by contrast, requires no advance action or expense, no formalities, and its scope is quite broad indeed, as compared to the Registry ID Card program.
Under the law, there is a list of defined "debilitating medical conditions" that applies to the DCH state issued Registry I.D. card program, and there is also a process for expanding the list though a public process. There is a set of criteria that permit a doctor to qualify a patient as having a "debilitating medical conditions", even if the patient's specific"chronic or debilitating disease or medical condition" is not on the list. A patient with a diagnosis which fits the definition may obtain a certificate, which the patient may use to apply for a Registry ID Card, but only if, in the doctor's professional opinion, the patient would also likely receive "palliative or therapeutic benefit" from marijuana to treat or alleviate the patient's debilitating medical condition or symptoms associated with it.
Therefore the mere presence of such a diagnosed qualifying condition does not entitle a patient to certification. To certify the patient, the doctor must specifically opine that the patient will "likely" receive a benefit. But once the doctor certifies, no court can question the reasonableness of the certification. None of these criteria above seem to suggest the doctor need specifically balance potential negative side effects of marijuana use. Caveat: For a patient under 18 years old, 2 physicians must certify the patient and each physician must explain the potential risks and benefits of the medical use of marihuana to the qualifying patient and to his or her parent or legal guardian.
To be clear, in any case, the certifying doctor is not prescribing marijuana; doctors cannot do so. The doctor is not recommending marijuana; the law does not require them to do so. The doctor is only stating an "opinion" as to the likelihood of a medical benefit, and can do so under the law without fear of retribution or any legal or professional liability, except that the doctor is always subject to personal and professional responsibility for "failing to properly evaluate a patient's medical condition or otherwise violating the standard of care for evaluating medical conditions."
Specifically, the required certificate is a document signed by a physician, stating the patient's debilitating medical condition and stating that, in the physician's professional opinion, the patient is likely to receive therapeutic or palliative benefit from the medical use of marihuana to treat or alleviate the patient's debilitating medical condition or symptoms associated with the debilitating medical condition. There are 9 qualifying debilitating medical conditions specified by name in the statute, which automatically qualify if the doctor opines that the patient would likely receive palliative or therapeutic effect. They are: Cancer, glaucoma, positive status for human immunodeficiency virus, acquired immune deficiency syndrome, hepatitis C, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, Crohn's disease, agitation of Alzheimer's disease, nail patella, or the treatment of these conditions.
There are other "chronic or debilitating disease or medical conditions" that meet the statutory definition of "debilitating medical condition", and as such qualify for formal certification and the Registry ID Card program. These involve any such disease or condition that produces severe and chronic pain, severe nausea, seizures, severe and persistent spasms, cachexia or wasting syndrome. This is potentially includes a broad range of maladies, if in the doctors sole discretion there is a likely receive "palliative or therapeutic benefit" from marijuana to treat or alleviate the patient's debilitating medical condition or symptoms associated with it.
Specifically, the statute captures within the definition of "debilitating medical condition" anything that fits this broadened category, which contemplates both "chronic or debilitating diseases" or "medical conditions." According to the statute, "A chronic or debilitating disease or medical condition or its treatment that produces 1 or more of the following: cachexia or wasting syndrome; severe and chronic pain; severe nausea; seizures, including but not limited to those characteristic of epilepsy; or severe and persistent muscle spasms, including but not limited to those characteristic of multiple sclerosis."
Reduced to its most basic elements, for the sake of certainty, the certifying physician must determine that the patient suffers from one of 4 things:
The second step is for the physician to determine that the "chronic or debilitating disease or medical condition", or its treatment, produces in the patient one of the following:
Notice that it if the treatment produces the offending symptom, then a doctor may certify the patient as a "qualifying patient" but, again, only if the doctor makes the further determination that, in his or her professional opinion, that the patient would likely receive palliative benefit from the medical use of marihuana to treat or alleviate the patient's debilitating medical condition or symptoms associated with the debilitating medical condition.
Criteria for Qualification to Assert the Affirmative Defense
The law qualifies a person to assert the affirmative defense to any prosecution involving marijuana if, "A physician has stated that, in the physician's professional opinion, after having completed a full assessment of the patient's medical history and current medical condition made in the course of a bona fide physician-patient relationship, the patient is likely to receive therapeutic or palliative benefit from the medical use of marihuana to treat or alleviate the patient's serious or debilitating medical condition or symptoms of the patient's serious or debilitating medical condition. The person must also satisfy two other elements; that the amount possesses is not an unreasonably excessive amount (allowing for the necessity to maintain an uninterrupted supply), and a good faith test that the use or possession was actually for a medicinal purpose.
The standard for the statement of written or oral opinion which triggers the affirmative defense is "serious or debilitating medical condition or symptoms of the patient's serious or debilitating medical condition; that is
Clearly, the standard for the affirmative defense is much more broad than the standard for the certificate. The formal certificate requires a debilitating medical condition, whereas the standard for the affirmative defense statement includes all those debilitating medical conditions that would justify a certificate (in case a person does not get an ID card) plus a more broad ranged concept: any "serious medical condition" or its "symptoms."
There are hundreds of "serious medical conditions" that presumably meet these broad criteria, based on the current state of the art. Whether a condition is a medical condition, and a serious one, is for the physician to determine. The court cannot question this determination as to the patient so long as the determination was only made "after having completed a full assessment of the patient's medical history and current medical condition made in the course of a bona fide physician-patient relationship", and subject to the responsibility to the profession for "failing to properly evaluate a patient's medical condition or otherwise violating the standard of care for evaluating medical conditions."
Registry ID Card Program: The Department of Community Health established administrative rules and commenced accepting applications for Registry ID cards on April 4, 2009. The Act gives the Michigan Department of Health the duty to issue Registry ID Cards, which are to be issued within 15 days of application. Registry information is strictly confidential under the Act, and cannot be used as probable cause or to target you or your primary care giver. If the Department gives out your identifying information inappropriately, it is a crime. The DCH has a Registry ID Card Program government website, with a FAQ section. You shold not rely on the accuracy of any government website. See your lawyer for reliable answers.
What is a Registry ID Card: To get a Registry ID Card the patient must get a written certification from a doctor stating the patient's debilitating medical condition and stating that, in the physician's professional opinion, the patient is likely to receive therapeutic or palliative benefit from the medical use of marijuana to treat or alleviate the patient's debilitating medical condition or symptoms associated with the debilitating medical condition. The certificate is available at the Free Form Bank.
Qualifications for Registered Primary Caregivers: A designated "Primary Caregiver" must be at least 21with no prior felony convictions involving illegal drugs, and can cultivate 12 plants (kept in a locked facility), and possess 2.5 oz. of marijuana, for each of up to 5 other patients. The law specifically bars arrest, prosecution, criminal or civil penalty, disciplinary action, and bars seizure or forfeiture of medical use marijuana. Any incidental amount of seeds, stalks, and unusable roots shall also be allowed under state law and shall not be included in this amount. The affirmative defense does not require that the primary caregiver be registered, but all the above qualifications apply.
Compensation: A registered primary caregiver may receive compensation for costs associated with assisting a registered qualifying patient in the medical use of marijuana. Any such compensation shall not constitute the sale of controlled substances under state law. The federal government may take another position as to the application of federal marijuana laws.
What Role Do The Doctors Play? Doctors are Ultimate Gatekeepers. Only a Physician licensed in Michigan can make a valid statement or certification, and nothing in the act allows any court to second guess a physicians professional opinion. This is not a prescription, and cannot be written on an Rx pad. It is not a recommendation either - the law does not require that. It is only an opinion. Doctors exercising independent responsible medical judgment are to the unquestioned gatekeepers to access under the Act (just as they are for narcotics like Morphine and oxycontin), and the law provides that unless the physician fails to honestly make a professional evaluation of the patient, the Physician is legally immunized against any legal or professional association sanctions that might otherwise result from their expressing of professional opinions regarding the medical efficacy of legitimate medicinal Marijuana use. It is up to each physician to form their own professional opinion on the efficacy of marijuana for medicinal use. The ADA may make it inappropriate for a Doctor to be dismissive of a patients request of information, or to make social or moral judgments about the use of marijuana. The only questions are; what is the serious or debilitating medical condition, and is the patient likely to receive therapeutic benefit by using marijuana to treat or alleviate that condition or its symptoms. "Physician" means an individual licensed as a physician under Part 170 of the public health code, 1978 PA 368, MCL 333.17001 to 333.17084, or an osteopathic physician under Part 175 of the public health code, 1978 PA 368, MCL 333.17501 to 333.17556.
Benefit of Participation in the Formal Registry: A registered "Qualifying Patient", and a designated "Primary Caregiver", who have in their possession Registry ID Cards, enjoy rebuttable presumptions of legitimacy. This creates a prophylactic immunity from arrest.
Amount: A registered "Qualifying Patient" may possess 2.5 oz. of marijuana for medical use, and can cultivate 12 plants (kept in a locked facility) unless a "primary caregiver" has been designated. The law specifically bars arrest, prosecution, criminal or civil penalty, disciplinary action, and bars seizure or forfeiture of medical use marijuana. "Usable marihuana" means the dried leaves and flowers of the marihuana plant, and any mixture or preparation thereof, but does not include the seeds, stalks, and roots of the plant. The affirmative defense does not specify the amounts; the standard is "not more than was reasonably necessary to ensure the uninterrupted availability of marihuana for the purpose of treating or alleviating the patient's serious or debilitating medical condition or symptoms of the patient's serious or debilitating medical condition."
Enclosed, Locked Facility means a closet, room, or other enclosed area equipped with locks or other security devices that permit access only by a registered primary caregiver or registered qualifying patient.
Legal Protections for Bystanders, Pariphinalia Providers, and Unregistered People: bystanders merely in the presence or vicinity of the medical use of marijuana in accordance with the Act, or unregistered persons assisting a registered qualifying patient with using or administering marijuana, and suppliers of paraphernalia are legally protected under state law too. "A person shall not be subject to arrest, prosecution, or penalty in any manner, or denied any right or privilege, including but not limited to civil penalty or disciplinary action by a business or occupational or professional licensing board or bureau, solely for being in the presence or vicinity of the medical use of marihuana in accordance with this act, or for assisting a registered qualifying patient with using or administering marihuana."
"Medical use" means the acquisition, possession, cultivation, manufacture, use, internal possession, delivery, transfer, or transportation of marihuana or paraphernalia relating to the administration of marihuana to treat or alleviate a registered qualifying patient's debilitating medical condition or symptoms associated with the debilitating medical condition.
Medical Purpose Affirmative Defense: A stand alone "Medical Purpose Affirmative Defense" is established by the Act. It protects patients and primary caregivers, even if they do not have Registry ID Cards. Defendants facing charges may successfully assert this defense if a licensed physician has stated, in this professional opinion, after complete assessment of medical history and current medical condition, that the patient has a serious or debilitating medical condition, and is the patient likely to receive therapeutic benefit by using marijuana to treat or alleviate that condition or its symptoms. This absolute legal defense is very robust, not overly difficult to prove for legitimate medical use, and mandatory on the court.
How to Assert the Affirmative Defense: It is fully explained in "The Essentials of the Affirmative Defense", which is available, along with a model Motion to Dismiss and Affidavit in Support at the Free Form Bank. This umbrella Affirmative Defense is the key to the Act. Using this defense, the specific limits give way to a reasonableness standard; not more than is reasonably necessary to ensure the uninterrupted availability of marijuana for the purpose of treating or alleviating the patient's serious or debilitating medical condition or symptoms of the patient's serious or debilitating medical condition.
Other Michigan Laws: All other acts and parts of acts inconsistent with this act do not apply to the medical use of marijuana as provided for by this act. This protects driver's, not under the influence, from Michigan's OWI law (MCL 257.645), which makes it a crime for drivers to have any amount of a controlled substance in their body, even if it has been weeks or months since they used marijuana.
Parental Rights Protected. A person shall not be denied custody or visitation of a minor for acting in accordance with this act, unless the person's behavior is such that it creates an unreasonable danger to the minor that can be clearly articulated and substantiated.
Disqualifying Factors: Disqualifying Factors that preclude protections under the Act Smoking marijuana "in any public place"; Smoking marijuana on any form of public transportation; Any use by a person who has no serious or debilitating medical condition; Any conduct where being under the influence would constitute negligence or professional malpractice per se; Operating, navigating, or being in actual physical control of any motor vehicle, aircraft, or motorboat while under the influence of marihuana. Any use or possession in a school bus; Any use or possession on the grounds of any preschool, primary, or secondary school; Any use or possession in any correctional facility.
Formal Medical Certifications ( Registry ID Card Program): Under the Act, Doctors are able to certify qualifying patients for an expansive list of specified debilitating medical conditions, plus any other "chronic or debilitating disease or medical condition or its treatment that produces..." symptoms or side effects like appetite loss, severe and chronic pain; severe nausea, seizures, severe and persistent spasms.
Medical Statements (Affirmative defense): Doctors can also make statements (written or oral) that support asserting the Affirmative Defense for an unlimited number of other serious for debilitating medical conditions. The Affirmative Defense applies so long as a physician has stated that, in the physician's professional opinion, after having completed a full assessment of the patient's medical history and current medical condition made in the course of a bona fide physician-patient relationship, the patient is likely to receive therapeutic or palliative benefit from the medical use of marihuana to treat or alleviate the patient's serious or debilitating medical condition or its symptoms.
Specific Medical Conditions that qualify for formal certification. List of Some Debilitating Medical Conditions Specified in the Statute:
Other General Covered Conditions that qualify for formal certification. Any chronic or debilitating disease or medical condition or its treatment that produces 1 or more of the following:
Here is a list of some specific conditions that may already qualify for the Affirmative Defense with a medical opinion, but are not yet specifically part of the formal certification list. The department shall accept a written petition from any person requesting that a particular medical condition or treatment be included in the list of debilitating medical conditions. Sample Petition Here
Amotivational Syndrome, Achalasia, Acute Porphyria, Aggressive-Destructive Behavior, Amputation, Ankylosing Spondylitis, Anxiety Attacks, Aseptic Necrosis, Asthma, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (Adhd), Back Pain, Bipolar Disorder, Borderline Personality Disorder, Brain Surgery (Post), Burn Injury, Charcot-Marie-Tooth Disease, Colitis, Common Cold, Congestive Heart Failure, Constipation, Crohn's Disease, Cystic Fibrosis, Degenerative Disc Disease, Dementia, Diabetes, Diabetic Gastroparesis, Dysmenorrhea, Endometriosis, Familial Spastic Paraplegia, Fibromyalgia, Frontal Lobe Epilepsy, Gastroesophogeal Reflux Disease (Same As Diabetic Gastroparesis), Gout, Grand Mal Seizures, Gynecomastia, Hashimoto's Encephalopathy, Herpes, High Blood Pressure, Horton's Syndrome (Cluster Headache), Hyperemesis Gravidaru, Hypertension, Insomnia, Intractable Hiccoughs, Irritable Bowel Syndrome, Joint Pain, Labor Discomfort, Lewy Body Disease, Lyme Disease, Lung Cancer, Menière's Syndrome, Meningitis, Menorrhagia (Excessive Menstrual Bleeding), Migraine, general Muscle Spasm, Myasthenia Gravis, Myofascial Pain Syndrome, Narcolepsy, geneal Nausea, (Erythema) Nodosum, Neurofibromatosis Nystagmus, Optic Nerve Atrophy, Orthostatic Hypotension, Osteoarthritis, Paget's Disease, Panic Disorder, Paraplegia, Peripheral Neuropathy, Phantom Pain, Polycystic Kidney Disease, Post-Polio Syndrome, Post-Traumatic Convulsive Disorder, Post-Traumatic Neuromuscular Symptoms, Post-Traumatic Spasms And Pain, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (Ptsd), Pregnancy, Premenstrual Syndrome (Pms), Primary Sclerosing Cholangiitis (Psc), Pseudotumor Cerebri, Psoriasis, Quadriplegia, Raynaud's Phenomenon, Restless Legs Syndrome, Rheumatoid Arthritis, Ruptured Disc Pain, Sexual Disability, Spastic Paraplegia, Spasticity, (Dyspepsia) Stomach Discomfort, Stuttering, Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (Sle), Temporal Lobe Epilepsy, Esophageal Spasms, Tinnitus, Tourette's Syndrome, Transverse Myelitis, Trigeminal Neuralgia, Ulcerative Colitis, Von Hippel-Landau Syndrome, Morbid Obesity, Wyburn-Mason Syndrome
Get up to date Medical Information about any condition: Enter name of condition in this Search Engine
Elements of the Affirmative Defense: Disqualifications: Section 8(a) provides that the defendant cannot assert the affirmative defense if possessing or engaging in the use of marijuana was in violation of Section 7(b) of the Act.
1. The Physician's Statement [Section 8(a)1]:
2. The Reasonably Necessary Quantity [Section 8(a)2]: The patient and the patient's primary caregiver, if any, were collectively
3. The Medical Purpose [Section 8(a)3]: The patient and the patient's primary caregiver, if any,
Disqualifications: Section 7(b) lists certain disqualifying criteria that apply to the Section 8 affirmative defense and to the Act's other more prophylactic immunities for registry participants. The defense may not be asserted for any of the following:
Say Yes To Michigan! Michigan Says Yes to You!
MICHIGAN IS USER FRIENDLY.
Come visit Michigan this summer, and don't forget your Registry Card!
Michigan honors Registry ID cards from other Medical Marijuana states.
Visiting Qualifying Patient - [Section 4(j)] "Visiting qualifying patient" means a patient who is not a resident of this state or who has been a resident of this state for less than 30 days. [Section 3(k)] A registry identification card, or its equivalent, that is issued under the laws of another state, district, territory, commonwealth, or insular possession of the United States that allows the medical use of marihuana by a visiting qualifying patient, or to allow a person to assist with a visiting qualifying patient's medical use of marihuana, shall have the same force and effect as a registry identification card issued by the department.
Kites, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.
© 2008 Gregory C. Schmid, Attorney at Law www.QualifyingPatient.com Phone (989) 799-4641. All Rights reserved. Permission for non-commercial download and print all materials on site for non-commercial use without resale or redistribution in any form is hereby granted.