Mississippi Medical Cannabis Market Update
By Colleen Mitchell, Andrew Livingston
Sep 20, 2023
It has been over a year since Mississippi began accepting applications for medical cannabis licenses in July of 2022. Since then, the Mississippi cannabis industry has steadily grown, with the first legal sales beginning in January 2023.
Mississippi’s cannabis market is unique as it is the only cannabis market in the South with an open, non-competitive licensing structure. And, with the residency requirement now gone and the passing of a new bill that made some positive changes to the program, this is an excellent time to enter this budding market which holds ample opportunity for those interested in entering the cannabis industry.
Medical Cannabis Patients in Mississippi
While the patient count started at only 2,000 registered patients at the beginning of 2023, we are excited to report that the patient population has grown substantially since then and continues to rise as more licensed dispensaries open their doors. On August 15, 2023, the Mississippi Department of Health reported that there were 21,459 registered patients.
As the Mississippi cannabis market matures and the patient count continues to grow, so do opportunities for interested operators.
Mississippi Cannabis Cultivators and Processors
As of September 18, 2023, Mississippi has licensed 121 cultivation facilities, establishing a competitive environment with average prices for cannabis flower at approximately $10-15 per gram.
Manufactured cannabis products such as edibles, topicals, and concentrates are still fetching higher prices, with standard 100mg edibles averaging $30-40 and concentrates averaging $60-80 per gram. This is likely a result of only 20 processing facilities being licensed in Mississippi.
The initial residency requirement for cultivators and processors expired in January 2023, which represents a major opportunity for experienced out-of-state operators to enter the Mississippi market. Additionally, the Department of Health just released new proposed rules which include additional application requirements and operational standards for cultivation and processing licensees. Contact Vicente LLP for more information on the application requirements and assistance in preparing a successful application.
Medical Cannabis Dispensaries in Mississippi
As of August 1, 2023, there were 185 licensed medical cannabis dispensaries, the majority of which are in the Jackson area. It’s important to note that of the licensed dispensaries, many are still in the process of becoming operational. HB 1158, passed in March 2023, implemented several updates to Mississippi’s medical cannabis program, including allowing dispensaries up to 18 months to become operational, contingent on timely annual license renewal. So, we can expect to see many of the dispensary licensees from the first tranche of applications in July of 2022 opening in the next six months.
Dispensary licensees should be aware that failure to renew their license within 12 months of license issuance or failure to become operational within 18 months of license issuance is grounds for license revocation. The Vicente LLP team is happy to assist Mississippi licensees with questions about license renewal or fulfilling operational requirements such as obtaining worker permits, compliant inventory tracking and Metrc, and day-to-day operating procedures. Our expert compliance team can assist with pre-operational compliance audits to ensure licensees are meeting their operational requirements in full compliance with Mississippi law.
Adult-Use Topical Cannabis Products Are Now Permitted to Be Sold
Creating a unique opportunity for Mississippi dispensary licensees, HB 1158 allows for the sale of topical medical cannabis products to adults over the age of 21, regardless of their medical cannabis patient status. Mississippi is the first state in the nation to implement this hybrid model for the adult-use sale of topical medical cannabis products such as gels, creams, and lotions.
Medical cannabis dispensaries may conduct adult-use topical sales in the sales area; however, they should store and display the adult-use topical products separately from other medical cannabis products. This represents a major opportunity for Mississippi medical cannabis operators to increase sales revenue and expand their customer base as the state’s medical program grows.
If you are interested in entering Mississippi’s medical cannabis market or have questions about how the new Mississippi bill, HB 1158, affects your existing medical cannabis operations in Mississippi, contact Vicente LLP today. Save the date: Vicente LLP will host a Mississippi-focused webinar on November 16, 2023!