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Michigan company seeks to create community around medical marijuana

March 31, 2010
by Gary A. Enos, Editor
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Magazine editor expresses some frustration with the state’s program

Adoption of medical marijuana initiatives at the state level has established communities of legal growers and caregivers supporting this newly authorized use of the drug. It also has created some new ventures in publishing, first surfacing in California and now under way in Michigan.

A group of editors this week was putting the finishing touches on the fifth issue of the monthly Michigan Medical Marijuana Magazine, a publication featuring regular contributions from a physician, a legal advocate and a gardener, among others. Contributing editor Rick Thompson says the magazine is intended to connect medical marijuana patients and caregivers in his state and does not focus much on broader marijuana legalization, although he leaves no doubt about his views on that subject.

“Once the baby step of decriminalizing medical marijuana nationally occurs, the legality issue will fall into place,” Thompson says.

Thompson co-founded the magazine with Rick Ferris, a former construction worker whose landscaping business has been transformed since Michigan voters approved a medical marijuana ballot item in November 2008. Ferris and his wife are medical marijuana patients, with the debilitating pain that caused Ferris to leave construction work being the reason for his marijuana use, Thompson says. Ferris’s Big Daddy’s Management Group in Oak Park now manufactures hydroponic growing systems and publishes the magazine.

Thompson says the 40-plus page magazine is meeting its expenses through a combination of paid advertising and a $5 per issue subscription price. “Our goal is to make the process easier for patients to access,” he says. “We include a lot of information about non-smoked varieties of marijuana.”

Thompson is critical of aspects of the state’s medical marijuana program, saying patients are being required to wait four to five months to receive the identification cards that document their enrollment. In addition, he believes the state has been slow to expand the overall number of medical conditions that can allow someone to use marijuana legally—leaving out illnesses such as multiple sclerosis for the time being.

Also, Thompson says some police officials around the state have maintained a blanket law-and-order mindset around marijuana. “One sheriff refuses to accept paperwork and wants to see the [identification] card,” even after the period in which paperwork is allowed as documentation in the law, Thompson says. “Some are still resisting the new laws.”

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