While medical marijuana patients in Michigan are legally allowed to grow 12 cannabis plants, tenting off a section of your basement for a horticultural endeavor with a finicky flowering plant isn’t for everyone. Because regulatory changes in Michigan’s cannabis industry have created uncertainty around the future cost and accessibility of medicine, it’s a ripe time to consider designating a caregiver to grow those plants for you.
While entering into a business arrangement with a professional cannabis farmer may seem daunting, our friends at Washtenaw County NORML helped us create a comprehensive guide that covers finding a caregiver, the process of applying to the state to designate your personal grower, and what you can expect from your chosen medicine provider.
Finding a Caregiver
The first step is connecting with someone who grows. You might be surprised by the amount of people you already know with a greenthumb. If you’re comfortable enough, post on your social media channels and let people know you’re looking. If you aren’t ready to go public with your search, a few online resources can connect you to caregivers less overtly. The Michigan Medical Marijuana Association has a forum dedicated to caregiver questions and connections. There are also Facebook groups like Michigan Medical Marijuana Club and Michigan Medical Cannabis, with people in the industry who can help guide your search. And Washtenaw County NORML’s Compassion Project, can also connect you with a caregiver. (Just send them a message on one of their social channels.)
After you’ve found a grower, you’ll need to let the state know you’re officially designating them your caregiver. Just fill out a form from LARA and mail it in along with a $35 check. It’ll take a couple weeks to process, and then they’ll send you a new card with your caregiver’s info printed on the back. Keep in mind you can still go into dispensaries like you used to, but once you’ve officially designated a caregiver to grow for you, you can no longer grow for yourself.
What to Expect
The amount of cannabis your caregiver grows in your name is likely to be way more than what you will actually use. Realize, however, that you, as a patient, are very valuable to a grower. Each designated patient allows a caregiver to grow 12 plants, and a caregiver can cultivate up to 72 plants. You’re worth at least a free ounce every 30 days and you should feel empowered to negotiate reasonable rates for purchasing more product (something like $150-200/oz depending on quality). If you want a certain strain, request it; most caregivers will be open to growing to your preference.
Your caregiver should be responsive to questions and transparent about their transactions with you. Expect quality meds, and, if you’re suspicious, see if they’ll take it to a lab for testing. You don’t want to be smoking mites and mold. You should also have the right to see your plants once in a while; state law okays that. Before you start with your caregiver, it’s a good idea to get agreements about all this in writing.
Designating a caregiver can be a nearly effortless way to get quality free medicine every month. If you aren’t Dr. Greenthumb and don’t have the time, money or space to grow cannabis, let someone else do it for you.