Medical Marijuana Logjam

Since the state implemented the new medical marijuana law in April 2009, it has received 25,589 applications, issued 13,239 permits for use of marijuana, handed out 5,460 permits for caregivers to grow it and denied 3,835 requests. As of April 16, the state had a backlog of 3,055 applications.

While the law requires the State to process an application within 20 days, the number of applications being submitted has overwhelmed the system. According to James McCurtis, a spokesman for the Michigan Department of Community Health, the department is receiving thousands of applications each week.

Under state law, the state health department must issue registry cards on approved applications within 20 days, however a provision allows the applicant to use a copy of the submitted application to serve as valid registry identification after that time if the state has not acted on the application. The police on the other hand have taken the position, that merely having applied does not mean the applicant is approved, so they are making arrests and letting the Courts deal with the problem.

The bottom line, the law on medical marijuana is new and kinks need to be worked out. Until they are, you could face arrest even though the voters have spoken. And even if you are subsequently approved, the experience of being arrested and the costs for legal representation may well be reason enough to wait until you are officially approved before imbibing.