What happens when a patient or caregiver experiences a catastrophic failure that results in the total loss of a crop? What happens then? How does the patient get their medicine? How does the caregiver get new plants? Does the patient owe the caregiver money? Imagine the ensuing nightmare! You can easily avoid this situation by selecting your caregiver wisely. The best way to protect a patient’s supply is to join or form a Patient or Caregiver Group.
When multiple patients network together locally to ensure a steady supply of quality marijuana, they’re forming a Patient Group. If each patient is growing their own marijuana, at their own location, they are perfectly legal to meet regularly and help each other learn how to ensure a safe, reliable, and affordable supply of marijuana. Typically group members agree to assist each other when one member has a problem, is out of medicine, or needs clones to help them quickly recover from catastrophe.
Crop loss can happen easier than many people think. Poor environmental conditions, lack of adequate knowledge, pests, equipment failure, and many other causes can destroy several months of work. Mold can also be a problem in Michigan because of our higher humidity levels. One of the most common problems novice growers experience is improper drying and curing techniques. Impurities introduced into medical marijuana often occur during this stage of the process. Marijuana that’s wet or that has molded, or has pet hair or carpet fibers in it, is not fit for human consumption.
Patient Groups can also work together to buy supplies. Usually buying supplies in bulk is cheaper than each member buying their own. An even smarter idea would be to work with the other Patient and Caregiver Groups through the local Compassion Club to buy in even larger volume for the best possible price.
Caregiver Groups function in a very similar fashion with an important distinction. Caregiver’s must have written consent from their patients to act on their behalf in the event of a catastrophic failure to a member of the caregiver’s group. A caregiver’s patients would need to pre-authorize them to assist the patients of another caregiver, but what smart patient wouldn’t like this arrangement? It’s basically a caregiver insurance policy should misfortune find your caregiver’s garden. He could then go within his network and find you marijuana, and acquire new plants to restart your garden. In return you would authorize your caregiver to help other patients who for one reason or another are in need.
Local Patient and Caregiver Groups also tend to stabilize both the supply and cost of medical marijuana in local areas. With local people working together, the money generated in any given area tends to stay in that area. Keeping cultivation and distribution local is key to ensuring a steady supply of medical-grade marijuana at the best possible price for the patient.
As for the legality of these groups, this is one of those “gray areas” all the legal cats like to talk about. For obvious reasons law enforcement and prosecuting attorney’s hate the concept. To them, this represents a Pablo Escobar-style narcotics empire. Some are having a hard time understanding the spirit of this law because they’ve always just charged and prosecuted all marijuana cases. This law, and the MMMA, are here for Michigan’s chronically ill people who choose to incorporate marijuana into their treatment plan. If our elected officials really give a damn about those this law was written for, they would implement guidelines for law enforcement and the judiciary that reflect the feelings of the 63% of Michigan voters who overwhelmingly support this program.
So sadly the answer at this time is no, these groups are not found to be accepted by all members of law enforcement, so if you’re considering forming or joining, or if you already participate in a Patient or Caregiver Group, you should be very discrete until solid court precedent is established. Furthermore, at this time the MMMA does not advise that patients or caregivers cultivate collectively without qualified legal counsel.