The Patient/Caregiver Relationship
The patient/caregiver relationship is established when a caregiver has agreed to assist with the patient's medical use of marijuana, meaning the acquisition, possession, cultivation, manufacture, use, internal possession, delivery, transfer, or transportation of marijuana or paraphernalia relating to the administration of marijuana to treat or alleviate a patient's debilitating medical condition or symptoms associated with the debilitating medical condition.
Because the patient owns their own plants, a caregiver's role in this relationship is subordinate to the role of the patient. The Michigan Medical Marijuana Act has established that caregivers are agents for patients and may act on the patient's behalf to acquire or cultivate marijuana for the patient's medical use. As an independent agent for a patient or patients, caregivers are basically small business people who take their direction from their client, the patient.
Because a caregiver is essentially a small business, we have developed this Patient/Caregiver Agreement to help both parties understand their responsibilities in this relationship. Please tell me what you would add or delete from this agreement in a comment below as we are still refining this document.
That's how both parties must view this relationship because that's how authorities will see it. Caregivers will be expected to keep accurate records for tax and legal purposes, the same as any other small business would be required to do. Like every other business, a caregiver will be expected to file tax returns and pay income tax on income or revenue generated from being a caregiver. Caregivers must also keep track of their patients and have the appropriate documents to prove they are the caregiver of record for their patients. Accurate records will also help a caregiver prove to law enforcement, should the need arise, that they are operating within the guidelines set forth in the Act.
Caregivers should keep accurate records of each patient including:
- A copy of each patient's Registry I.D. Card
- Complete address and contact information for each patient
- An inventory of each patient's strain, plants, and usable marijuana
- A log of transactions for each patient
Remember, while the marijuana belongs to the patient, the caregiver is still responsible to, among other things, keep track of each patients plants and usable marijuana. By maintaining good records of each patient's inventory, a caregiver will be able to make sure each patient gets all the marijuana they are entitled to. Each time a patient claims some of their marijuana, they must sign a receipt that states the time, date, location, quantity of marijuana and the amount the caregiver charged for their service. This provides an additional layer of protection for legitimate patients and caregivers.
I know many of you think keeping records that could incriminate you in a Federal court is insane, but the chances that the Feds will raid patients or caregivers operating within the Act is very small. Besides, it is not a requirement that anyone use this, or any Patient/Caregiver Agreement. The MMMA does however advise that you keep good records and operate within the Act, but ultimately that decision is in the hands of individual patients and caregivers. It's our intent to provide information and options to medical marijuana patients, and this agreement, however it is published or changed by patients and caregivers to suit their needs, should be the basis of that relationship.