Caregivers provide an important role for many, but not all patients. Patients confident in their own ability to acquire or grow their own medicine do not need one. By designating a caregiver, a patient has transferred privilege of growing medical marijuana, up to twelve cannabis plants, to the caregiver. This also gives the caregiver the privilege to carry and transport medicine for the patient. While in possession of a patient’s medicine, a caregiver should also carry the patient’s medical marijuana card as well as their own caregiver card. A caregiver can be responsible for up to five patients at any given time.
A patient must designate a caregiver at the time of their MMMP application or they will have to reapply for one by filling out and sending in a patient change form. Minors, patients under 18, must assign a caregiver when applying for Michigan’s Medical Marihuana Program. Caregivers and patients make their own arrangements as far as medicine allotments and compensation. This emphasizes the importance of connecting with a caregiver you trust.
Michigan Medical Marihuana Act Section 333.26423 Definitions (h):
“Primary caregiver” or “caregiver” means a person who is at least 21 years old and who has agreed to assist with a patient’s medical use of marihuana and who has not been convicted of any felony within the past 10 years and has never been convicted of a felony involving illegal drugs or a felony that is an assaultive crime as defined in section 9a of chapter X of the code of criminal procedure, 1927 PA 175, MCL 770.9a
Michigan Medical Marihuana Act Section 333.26424.amended (f):
A registered primary caregiver may receive compensation for costs associated with assisting a registered qualifying patient in the medical use of marihuana. Any such compensation does not constitute the sale of controlled substances.
Non-Growing Medical Marijuana Caregivers
A non-growing medical marijuana caregiver’s main role is procuring and transporting medicine to their identified patients. Most non-growing caregivers are patients’ close friends or family. Patients unable to physically or mentally acquire their own cannabis should use a trusted person as their caregiver. Caregivers do not need to be patients; however, patients can also be caregivers for other patients.
Caregivers are only allowed to procure medicine for the patient or patients specified in their application to the program. So, if a caregiver needs to pick up cannabis for their patient, the caregiver should have both their caregiver card and the patient’s MMMP card. This helps law enforcement understand the ownership of specific medicines. Now, the old excuse of, “It’s not mine; It’s for a friend.” can be legitimized if you have a caregiver card and paired patient’s card.
Growing Medical Marijuana Caregivers
Caregivers also take ownership of a patient’s medical marijuana growing rights. This allows patients to find suitable growers capable of producing the proper amount of cannabis for them on a regular basis. Caregivers should regularly test their cannabis crops to ensure the medicine is clean, safe, and potent. Although caregivers are legally allowed to grow up to five patients’ plants (60 plants or 72 if the caregiver is also a patient), they are still not legally allowed to possess more than a reasonable amount of medication to administer to their patients. It is best to stay below the state’s two and a half ounce per patient law.