Mississippi Cannabis Update: Medical Sales Launch, Legalization Bills Proposed
By Sally Kent Peebles
Feb 1, 2023
Nearly one year after Governor Reeves signed the Mississippi Medical cannabis Act (MMCA), medical marijuana sales launched in the Magnolia State on January 25, 2023.
As a background, passed in February 2022, the MMCA legalized the use of medical marijuana by registered patients suffering from a broad range of medical conditions. The MMCA achieved what no other southern state had yet to accomplish—the development of a refreshingly non-competitive licensed program that should allow for greater patient access and lower barriers to entry for those interested in participating in this exciting industry.
The MMCA tasked the Mississippi Department of Health (MDOH) to develop a comprehensive commercial program wherein licensees can cultivate, process, sell, transport, dispose of, research, and test medical marijuana. The Mississippi Department of Revenue (MDOR) oversees the medical cannabis dispensary licenses, while the MDOH oversees all other license types.
Those interested in participating in the exciting Mississippi industry can still apply for licensure. The application process is structured as a rolling process, and there is no limit on the number of cannabis facility licenses the state will issue. However, please note that no individual or entity may have a direct or indirect ownership or economic interest of more than 10% in more than one cultivation facility license, more than one processing facility license, or more than five dispensary licenses. Vertical integration is permitted, but not required. Applicants should carefully choose their locations, as there are strict setbacks from schools, childcare facilities and churches, and some local jurisdictions have opted-out of allowing facilities within their boundaries.
As for the future of adult-use cannabis in Mississippi, two bills recently proposed would legalize cannabis. HB 338, the Mississippi Retail Marijuana Act, would legalize adult-use cannabis and create a licensed commercial program for its sale. SB 2097 would allow the adult-use possession of up to 70 grams of cannabis for adults, but would not create a commercial program.
Over the past year, the VS team has helped interested parties get licensed in Mississippi. We are familiar with the ins and outs of the medical cannabis program and the nuances of the law. Please contact Sally Kent Peebles if you are interested in learning more.