Michigan Compassionate Care Initiative

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The Michigan Compassionate Care Initiative is an indirect initiated state statute that will allow the medical use of marijuana for seriously ill patients.

The measure has met all requirements and appeared as Question 1 on the November 2008 ballot.

Specifically, the measure will:

  • Allow terminally and seriously ill patients to use marijuana with their doctors' approval.
  • Permit qualifying patients or their caregivers to cultivate their own marijuana for their medical use, with limits on the amount they could possess.
  • Create identification cards for registered patients and establish penalties for false statements and fraudulent ID cards.
  • Allow patients and their caregivers who are arrested to discuss their medical use in court.
  • Maintain prohibitions on public use of marijuana and driving under the influence of marijuana.


The primary proponents of the initiative are the Michigan Coalition for Compassionate Care (MCCC). Former state representative Dianne Byrum (D) is chairwoman of the coalition.


  • National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML) - Michigan Chapter
  • StoptheDrugWar.com

Arguments in Favor

  • Prevents people from being threatened with prison for trying to relieve pain from a serious illness
  • Some people are unable to take other drugs and marijuana is the only drug that alleviates a debilitating condition such as nausea or inability to eat.
  • The law is narrow in scope as it deals only with medical marijuana
  • Requires a doctors certification of need to be covered under law
  • There is a mandatory state registration system in place to assure the law is not abused.

Medical Access to Marijuana is supported by:

  • American Academy of HIV Medicine
  • American Bar Association
  • American College of Physicians
  • American Nurses Association
  • American Public Health Association
  • Aids Action Council
  • Leukemia and Lymphoma Society
  • Lymphoma Foundation of America
  • National Association of People With Aids
  • National Association of Attorneys General

In February 2008, delegates at the Michigan Democratic Party Convention unanimously passed a resolution in favor of protecting patients from arrest.

Michigan has already passed local medical marijuana initiatives in five cities—Ann Arbor, Detroit, Ferndale, Flint, and Traverse City—and by large margins.

A poll by Marketing Resource Group in March 2008 showed 67% of voters saying they supported medical marijuana and 62% voicing approval for this particular initiative. Voters between 34 and 54 showed 75% support for medical marijuana, with 63% of retirees voicing support. Younger voters (18 to 34) were the least supportive, with 61% backing the measure.


Oakland County Sheriff Mike Bouchard

Arguments Against

  • There is a drug on the market called Marinol that has similar effects and is prescribed
  • Smoking a substance brings additional health risks

State medical society takes neutral position

The Michigan State Medical Society took a neutral position on this ballot measure, as well as on two other initiatives related to health care at its annual delegates meeting in early May 2008.


The measure was presented to the Michigan State Legislature for passage on March 3, 2008, after supporters submitted sufficient signatures on petitions, but the legislature failed to act on the measure within the 40 days set by law, earning it a place on the November 2008 ballot as Question 1, where it was approved by voters.


Michigan Coalition for Compassionate Care Initiative:
Votes Percentage
14px Yes 3,008,980 63%
No 1,792,870 37%
Total votes 4,801,850 100%

See also

Cannabis in the United States