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Frequently Asked Questions about the Michigan Medical Marihuana Act

1. What is the Michigan Medical Marihuana Act? Why is marihuana spelled with an "h" in the Act?

The Michigan Medical Marihuana Act (the “Act”) became Michigan law on December 4, 2008. The Act permits an individual with a qualifying debilitating medical condition to register as a medical marihuana patient with the Michigan Department of Community Health (“MDCH”) and avoid criminal penalties under state law for certain medical uses of marijuana. Information about the Act and the state registry program is available on the MDCH website at The spelling of marihuana within the Act is consistent with the spelling of marihuana in the Michigan Public Health Code.

2. Does this mean that smoking or ingesting marihuana is legal now?

Not really. Although the Act permits registered patients to use marihuana for certain medical purposes without being arrested or prosecuted under state criminal law, the federal Controlled Substances Act continues to list marihuana as a Schedule I drug and prohibits its possession, manufacturing, dispensing, and distribution. There is no “medical necessity” exception for Schedule I drugs under federal law and the Act does not protect an individual from arrest and prosecution under federal law.

3. Does the Act change University policy regarding drug use or possession on campus?

No, University policies have not changed. Students and employees may not use or possess marihuana on campus. This is true whether the marihuana is smoked or ingested through other means. Michigan State University is subject to the Drug-Free Workplace Act of 1988 and the Drug-Free Schools and Communities Act Amendment of 1989. Consistent with those laws, the MSU Drug and Alcohol Policy prohibits the unlawful manufacture, distribution, dispensation, possession, or use of controlled substances, illicit drugs, and alcohol on any property governed by the Board of Trustees and at any site where work is performed by individuals on behalf of the University. The Alcohol and Controlled Substances Policy also applies to employees performing safety-sensitive functions and whose position responsibilities require they obtain a commercial driver’s license.

Employees and students who violate University policy prohibiting the use or possession of illegal drugs on campus are subject to disciplinary action through the appropriate disciplinary process.

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