What should you expect when you visit a Michigan Medical Marijuana Provisioning Center and other Medical Marijuana questions people in Michigan are asking

What should you expect when you visit a Michigan Medical Marijuana Provisioning Center and other Medical Marijuana questions people in Michigan are asking

With medical marijuana finding its way into newsfeeds daily – sometimes hourly – it’s hard to keep up with current developments, let alone the basics that have somehow gotten glossed over.

Consider this article a “refresher” course. It’s designed to provide information you think you may know – or knew at one point. And, it’s possible that you do. But it’s also possible that you don’t have it quite right. Not because you’ve forgotten.  Perhaps you’re finding that, as prior regulations have been modified and new ones have been established, what was once the case, may not be anymore.

These are just a sampling of the most common questions people in Michigan are asking about Michigan’s medical marijuana industry and regulations.  Perhaps you’ll find an answer to a question you’ve also been asking.



Is it marijuana with a “j” or marihuana with an “h”? Why? And what’s the difference?

It’s both.  Either spelling of marijuana is correct and acceptable although marijuana with a “j” is most common. The “h” spelling – particularly in Michigan – was established in Michigan in 1937 when the Marihuana Tax Act of 1937 was enacted.  Michigan adopted the federal “h” spelling that was used in that legislation and followed suit when creating its statutory definition in the Public Health Code.

In effect, Michigan’s state laws and related administrative rules have adopted the “h” spelling, but acknowledge that it’s the formal spelling. This means it’s acceptable to use the “j” spelling in more informal communications.

Those in the industry who find it’s easier and less confusing to keep things simple, refer to the plant itself and – regarding all things marijuana/marihuana – use the word “cannabis”.



What is the difference between a dispensary and a provisioning center?

Actually, at face value the two terms are interchangeable. And, if you read five articles on medical marijuana, it’s likely that a medical marijuana facility will be referred to few different ways.  (The word “shop” still shows up now and then.)

In any case, prior to 2012, medical marijuana patients in Michigan went to dispensaries to purchase their medication. But, influential political shifts and new legislation in 2012 resulted in a gradual shift from the term dispensary to provisioning center.

It just sounds better, right?

Well, there’s a bit more to it.  There is an implied but distinct difference between those medical marijuana businesses operating as dispensaries but calling themselves provisioning centers and those that are truly Provisioning Centers. The difference is in the ambiance and environment as well as the level and quality of product, knowledge, assistance, and care their service providers extend to their patients.

In Michigan, the majority of medical marijuana patients prefer to attain their medical marijuana from a safe location with more of a “clinical” atmosphere.  Furthermore, they also claim this type of atmosphere lends itself to being tended to by educated, trained professionals who take the time to answer their questions rather than having a counter person dispensing their product.



Are you a patient or a customer?  

The simple answer to that question is rooted in the difference between recreational and medical marijuana use. Discussed in more detail in a previous article (see The 3 Main Differences between Medical Marijuana and Recreational Marijuana) the basic difference between a patient and a customer relates to the person’s reasons for using marijuana.

For example, because we are a fully integrated Medical Marijuana Cultivation and Provisioning Center, Allied Wellness Center views each of its patrons as patients.  In simple terms, we’re positioned to consult with each patient from the perspective of which strain of medical marijuana will provide the accurate ratio of CBD to THC – the essential aspect of medical marijuana’s effectiveness in treating each patient’s qualifying conditions.

As of this writing, there are still no recreational sales outlets in Michigan. But all is still on track for that to change in 2020 once recreational marijuana facility applications are approved by their respective local or regional cities and boards.

While there are no certainties, it appears possible that recreational marijuana will be available for purchase in Medical Marijuana Provisioning Centers as long as the two “product lines” are sold in clearly distinctive areas of the facility. To further distinguish the two departments or divisions, it’s likely it will become commonplace for recreational marijuana users to be referred to as customers.




What is the difference between a caregiver and a patient?

The Michigan Medical Marihuana Act allowed for anyone 21 or older with no felonies to be a “caregiver”, i.e., a person who administers – and can also cultivate – medical marijuana on behalf of a registered Michigan medical marijuana patient.

As is the case with all medical marijuana regulations, there are many specific guidelines and restrictions – legal and ethical – associated with this credential. Full compliance is required of all care givers.

The Michigan Medical Marijuana Association provides a through posting of these guidelines for all MMMA caregivers – here is a sampling:



Medical marijuana caregivers in Michigan:  

  • Can only assist a maximum of 5 patients with their use of medical marijuana;
  • Must be designated by each patient on that patient’s registry identification card application as his/her caregiver;
  • Must cultivate their patient’s marijuana – if they are so designated – in a facility that is fully enclosed and locked
  • Can be compensated per an agreed upon reasonable rate or fee structure;
  • Cannot personally consume their patients’ medical marijuana;
  • Can be penalized for providing medical marijuana to non-patients
  • Are responsible for ensuring the product they produce is pure, uncontaminated, and mold and additive free



But remember:

In its mission to keep its Michigan medical marijuana patients and followers informed, Allied Wellness Center will continue to provide accurate, easy to digest information and updates on all topics related to medical marijuana issues and research.

Furthermore, information presented in this article is to give you a basic understanding; it’s designed as a point of departure for further research – not to be all-inclusive. As an example, before you consider becoming a caregiver, it is strongly recommended that you visit MMMA’s site to conduct much more research to supplement the information presented here.

Or, you are welcome to visit Allied Wellness Center to speak personally with one of our professional, certified care providers. We anticipate an early 2020 Grand Opening. In the meantime, we will remain available through this website to field your questions and provide additional assistance or information.

Rebecca J. Ensign

Community Relations Coordinator