What Are Medical Provisioning Centers in Michigan?

October 05, 2023

Knowing where and how to get your cannabis is about more than just the rules and regulations of the state. It’s also about the terminology used. In this guide, we’re going to explain how Michigan uniquely differentiates between dispensaries and provisioning centers. 

What is a Provisioning Center?

You might think that “provisioning center” and “dispensary” can be used interchangeably. Not in Michigan. In Michigan, a provision center is a business where medical marijuana patients can purchase marijuana. Legally, they aren’t allowed to call themselves a “dispensary” when advertising or posting signs on the building. Conversely, dispensaries can’t call themselves provisioning centers. Each term is particular to their avenue of cannabusiness and can’t be interchanged. 

Dispensary vs. Provisioning Center: What’s the difference?

Every state has its own version of the rules and regulations that cannabis businesses and their patrons have to follow. In Michigan, this includes how these businesses are named. Whether you’re a Michigan resident or an out-of-state visitor to the Mitten, you should know the difference before you head out to do some canna-shopping. 

In Michigan, a dispensary is a recreational, or adult-use, shop that sells cannabis. A provisioning center is a medical marijuana shop that provides patients with cannabis. Dispensaries are not allowed to call themselves provisioning centers and vice versa, whether it’s on the building or in their advertisements.

Why Does Michigan Use the Word “Marihuana”?

The term “marihuana” has some pretty negative history associated with it. It was a word primarily used in disparaging, and often racist, depictions of cannabis consumers, particularly people of color. Unfortunately, the word stuck when the federal Marihuana Tax Act of 1937 was enacted. 

In years past, Michigan adopted the cannabis policies from the Marihuana Tax Act, and because of this, also adopted the spelling from the act. All of the state’s statutes and administrative rules contain that “h,” and unfortunately, to change the spelling, the Michigan legislature would have to get involved. While it’s unlikely the respelling would be prioritized any time soon, we hope Michigan’s progressive outlook on cannabis eventually carries over to the spelling within its laws and regulations. 

Are All Dispensaries in Michigan Considered Provisioning Centers?

No, all dispensaries in Michigan are not considered provisioning centers. Michigan’s Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs has restricted the term “provisioning center” to be used only for medical marijuana-dispensing businesses and their advertising. The term “dispensary” is reserved only for recreational shops and their advertising. So if you’re trying to find the nearest medical marijuana provisioning center, you might want to use the term “provisioning center” in your search. If you’re looking for recreational marijuana, you can just do a general search for Michigan dispensaries

Answering FAQs About Michigan’s Cannabis Provisioning Centers

While Michigan’s cannabis provisioning centers try to keep things as simple as possible, there are still questions. Some of the most frequently asked questions include:

Do I need a medical card to visit a provisioning center in Michigan?
Yes, you will need a medical card to visit a provisioning center in Michigan. If you’re a Mitten resident, getting a medical marijuana card in Michigan is easy—as long as you are 18 or older and have a qualifying medical condition. 

Can I use an out-of-state medical card at a provisioning center?
Yes, Michigan recognizes out-of-state medical marijuana cards, as long as you meet these conditions:

  • Your state’s medical marijuana card hasn’t expired
  • You’ve got a photo ID that proves you are who you say you are—and that name matches your medical marijuana card
  • You don’t purchase more than you’re allowed
  • The cannabis you purchase is sold per the Marihuana Sale or Transfer Rule Set

Can I purchase cannabis in Michigan if I’m from out of state?
Yes, you can absolutely purchase marijuana in Michigan during a visit. Buying cannabis in Michigan just has a few rules: you have to be 21 or older; you need a valid, state-issued photo ID; and you cannot take your Michigan-bought cannabis products over state lines.

Medical Provisioning Centers in Michigan

Until cannabis is federally legal, each state is going to have its own unique rules and regulations around dispensaries. It’s important to review these laws whenever you are visiting a new part of the country so that you are prepared for and following that state’s cannabis laws.

Please consume responsibly. This product may cause impairment and may be habit forming. There may be health risks associated with consumption of this product.  State laws impact what dispensaries can and can’t sell to recreational customers and medical marijuana patients. Not every type of product, consumption method, dosage form, or potency mentioned on this blog will be permitted in all locations.

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