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      Changes to Michigan's medical marijuana law begin Monday

      Some of the first significant changes to Michigan's medical-marijuana law kick in Monday, April 1, including extending the one-year registry cards to two years and setting rules for the doctor-patient relationship for medical-marijuana users.

      Voters endorsed the use of medical marijuana in 2008 to alleviate side effects of certain illnesses, such as cancer or chronic pain. But lawmakers said the law left too much open to interpretation and pushed through bipartisan measures at the end of last session designed to clarify the act. One of the biggest changes defines the type of doctor-patient relationship needed before medical marijuana use can be certified.

      Democratic Rep. Phil Cavanagh of Redford Township in Wayne County, who sponsored one of the bills, said lawmakers had concerns that the certificates were given out too liberally, like over the phone or Internet.

      But starting Monday, doctors must complete face-to-face medical evaluations of patients, review their relevant medical records, and assess their medical condition and history. The amendments also require follow-up with patients after providing the certification to see whether the use of medical marijuana to treat the illness is working.