Jump to content



The Michigan Medical Marijuana Act defines a "qualifying patient" as: a person who has been diagnosed by a physician as having a debilitating medical condition.

Specific Medical Conditions listed in Statute:
“Debilitating medical conditions" [Section 3 (a) (1)] means any of the following conditions and/or their treatments:

* Cancer
* Glaucoma
* Positive status for human immunodeficiency virus
* Acquired immune deficiency syndrome
* Hepatitis C
* Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS - Lou Gehrig's Disease)
* Crohn's disease
* Agitation of Alzheimer's disease
* Nail patella


General diseases, medical conditions, and treatment not listed but authorized in Statute:
A patient can also qualify under the statute [Section 3 (a) (2)] if he/she experiences any chronic or debilitating disease or medical condition, or it's treatment, which produces one or more of the following symptoms or side effects:

* cachexia or wasting syndrome;
* severe and chronic pain;
* nausea;
* seizures, including but not limited to those characteristic of epilepsy;
* severe and persistent muscle spasms, including but not limited to those characteristic of multiple sclerosis

Departmental Authority to expand conditions covered:
New conditions can be specified in the future. Rule 333.131 requires the Michigan Department of Community Health (MDCH) to have a procedure for accepting petitions from the public to include additional medical conditions and treatments. The procedure must include public notice of hearings on each petition, opportunities for public input, and a reasonable time line (180 days) for approval or denial.

Affirmative Defense Conditions Covered
A person "may assert the medical purpose for using marijuana as a defense to any prosecution involving marijuana, and this defense shall be presumed valid" if a physician has stated that the patient is likely to receive therapeutic or palliative benefit from the use of marijuana to treat or alleviate the patient's serious or debilitating medical condition or its symptoms. This statement must be:

* in his professional opinion
* having completed a full assessment of the patient's medical history and current medical condition
* 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 marijuana to treat or alleviate the patient's the condition or symptoms

The Act does not specify that the statement be in writing, but common sense dictates that a written statement provides the best possible protection.

This standard is different than the one for obtaining the written certification for the registry ID card – any “serious medical condition” qualifies, as opposed to only those which are "chronic" or "debilitating," and it does not require any specific symptoms. The affirmative defense applies to both patients and caregivers who engage in

* acquisition
* possession
* cultivation
* manufacture
* use (patient only)
* delivery
* transfer
* transportation

of marijuana or paraphernalia which is used medically as described above. The amount of marijuana must be no more than is "reasonably necessary" to ensure the "uninterrupted availability" of medicine to the patient.

Summary

You do not need to have one of the Specific Medical Conditions listed in Statute to be considered a qualified medical marijuana patient. The Statute also protects patients who use marijuana to treat the symptoms of any chronic or debilitating medical condition, or to alleviate symptoms or side effects caused by any therapy or other treatment option prescribed by your primary physician for that condition. For example, if you suffer from depression and your physician prescribes a medication to treat the depression, and that medication causes muscle aches and spasms, or it makes you nauseated, then you would qualify as a patient with a listed condition (muscle spasms, nausea), to choose medical marijuana as a treatment option.

It's the opinion of some legal scholars that the Affirmative Defense provides greater patient protection than the Act itself.