Aug. 17 2009 12:00 AM

Marijuana Journal is a weekly column tracking the implementation of the state medical marijuana law. R.D. Winthrop is a long time medical marijuana activist. This column appears online every Monday and every Wednesday in print.

When public officials turn their back on a population — as most Michigan public officials have done in the past three decades — they lose sight of more than the people they have sworn to serve. They lose sight of opportunity.

The medical marijuana law Michigan voters approved in November was "silent on supply." Absent any reference to common production, distribution, or supply beyond the atomized, small garden approach dictated in the law, the state has yet to give thought to deriving revenue from the sale of medical cannabis. The only revenue foreseen by the state, apparently, is the $100 processing fee it imposes upon patients for filing the presently unavailable, but mandatory, medical marijuana registry form.

Registration opens in a week, and I get the feeling they hope nobody shows.

The Michigan Medical Marijuana Association was formed to assure "safe, effective, and cost-efficient supply of medical quality cannabis," and now includes launching a training program for cultivators of all experience levels. We expect to see our public universities and other agricultural agencies devote professional attention to cannabis, but for now it is part of our business model.

Were close to cracking the federal governments "prior restraint" laws that for three decades have barred useful cannabis research. There is enormous demand for alternatives to smoking, including topical applications (oils, creams, waxes) which we are encouraging development. Today, right now, there are Michigan products, field-tested and legal in all respects — but theres not a marketplace in this state.

Were here to assure that marketplace comes to fruition, is properly regulated as any business must be, and to be valued in the communities we serve. That includes paying our fair share of state and local taxes.

How long will it take to get their attention?

Colleen Davis, owner of the Gone Wired Cafe, has joined the MMMAs advisory board. She is also hosting our April 6 Compassion Club at Gone Wired before delivering our registration papers. Patients, caregivers and their friends and family are all invited.