Is Medical Marijuana Still a Thing?

January 26, 2023

Here in Michigan, medical marijuana has been part of the landscape since 2008. If you’re a card-carrying med patient, you know that fewer and fewer cannabis provisioning stores are carrying medical marijuana products. So it’s a bit of a chicken-and-egg situation how we reached this point.

Since the introduction of recreational cannabis in 2018, more and more Michiganders are allowing their state-issued medical marijuana cards to expire and opting to shop recreational. 

As a result, Pharmhouse Wellness has been seeing sales of medical marijuana plummet, and for the most part, stores in Grand Rapids don’t carry medical marijuana products anymore. 

We remain committed to serving medical patients with high-quality cannabis products and here’s why.

Above all, we believe in the healing power of cannabis. 

If you’ve followed Pharmhouse, you know that owner Casey began his cannabis career as a caregiver, growing plants for patients on a one-to-one basis. “I’ve always had a sweet spot for med patients,” said Casey. “I think having been a caregiver and observing how the plant helps people with various health conditions I wanted to stay true to the plant as medicine. So we intentionally carry a wide variety of medical marijuana products.”

“I recognize that cannabis is utilized for many reasons—to aid with pain, to help with muscle spasms, helping with gastric issues, and getting people through chemotherapy around a cancer diagnosis,” Casey said. “It’s a powerful plant for whatever physical or mental health reason someone might need it.”

How to Acquire a Medical Marijuana Card

Acquiring a medical marijuana card in Michigan costs $40 (the State of Michigan’s application fee) and requires an examination and the signature of a physician. If you are in a relationship with a physician who will not approve your request, that’s not unusual. Some physicians don’t like or believe in cannabis and others work for healthcare corporations that prohibit approval. 

We recommend Green Cross Partners in Grand Rapids. The price for the telemedicine consultation is $70, and it’s DIY for the state paperwork filing and payment or you can have the company do the exam, complete the filing and pay them a fee of $130. A Michigan medical marijuana card is good for two years.

We know what you might be thinking—I can just go rec and save some money. But there are a few things to consider and the devil is in the details!

Consider your annual cannabis consumption and be realistic about what you spend.

Let’s say you are a rec-only customer and spend $100 monthly on cannabis flower and edibles.

You’re paying 16 percent in tax (10 percent excise tax and 6 percent Michigan sales tax) on every purchase. People with med cards pay only 6 percent sales tax.

Each time you spend $100 you’re paying $16 in taxes when you could be paying just $6. That’s $192 a year. If you were using a med card, you’d pay $72 per year in sales tax.

So, there are savings to be had!

Also, medical cannabis edibles are twice as potent as products on the recreational side. For instance, you can buy 20 mg gummies on the medical side versus 10 mg on the recreational side. This is important for people who use cannabis for pain, nausea or movement disorders where more potency is needed to control symptoms. For those who need less potency, you can easily divide a gummy and enjoy twice as much for the same price.

It’s important to know that there may be some legal protections for you with a card, especially if you are in possession of cannabis in a state that is medical-only. This matters if you’re especially traveling in the southern and middle north US, where cannabis prohibition is very much alive. But keep in mind moving cannabis from state to state is still illegal. We know—it doesn’t make sense, but be mindful of the law and possession limits when you travel.

A couple of other things—if you’re interested in gun ownership, you can’t have a medical marijuana card. If you dislike the government knowing your business, maybe having a card isn’t for you as card information is stored in a secure State database and is considered private protected health information.

People 18 years or older can apply for a medical marijuana card. Recreational cannabis is for people 21 and older.

If you are curious about which conditions qualify you for a medical marijuana card in Michigan, we’ve listed them here.

  • AIDS
  • ALS—Lou Gehrig’s Disease Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis
  • Arthritis
  • Agitation of Alzheimer’s Disease
  • Autism
  • Cancer
  • Cerebral Palsy
  • Chronic pain
  • Colitis
  • Crohn’s Disease
  • Glaucoma
  • HIV positive
  • Hepatitis C
  • Inflammatory Bowel Disease
  • Nail Patella
  • Obsessive Compulsive Disorder
  • Parkinson’s Disease
  • PTSD
  • Rheumatoid Arthritis
  • Spinal Cord Injury
  • Tourette’s Disease
  • Ulcerative Colitis
  • A chronic or debilitating disease or medical condition or a treatment that produces one or more of these symptoms
    • Cachexia or Wasting Syndrome
    • Severe and chronic pain
    • Severe nausea
    • Seizures (Including but not limited to those characteristics of Epilepsy)
    • Severe and persistent muscle spasms (Including but not limited to those characteristics of multiple sclerosis)

Regardless of your health condition, Pharmhouse Wellness is here for you—growing and providing cannabis for you.