Mississippi’s fledgling medical cannabis program is slowly but surely coming together, with state officials aiming to open the first dispensaries early next year.
Local news station WLBT reports “900 Mississippians have already applied for and been certified for medical marijuana cards,” and the first dispensaries are expected to open early next year.
The state began accepting applications for medical marijuana cards in June.
Mississippi legalized its medical cannabis program earlier this year after Republican Governor Tate Reeves signed the law into law.
“The ‘Medical Marijuana Bill’ has consumed an enormous amount of space on the front pages of legacy media across Mississippi over the past three years,” Reeves said in a statement after the bill was signed. “There is no question that there are people in our state who could do much better if they had access to medically prescribed doses of cannabis. , some really want a recreational marijuana program that could lead to all of the social and family ills it brings.
The governor’s signature marked the culmination of a multi-year legislative process after voters in the state approved a ballot measure to legalize medical marijuana treatment in 2020.
The state Supreme Court technically deemed the voter-approved bill unconstitutional, prompting Mississippi lawmakers to draft their own medical cannabis proposal.
Reeves, who opposed the 2020 ballot measure, lobbied Congress for the bill, and at one point legislators argued that patients should be limited to 2.7 grams per day.
But a law that arrived on his desk earlier this year allowed patients to purchase up to 3.5 grams up to six times a week. Congress passed with a no-veto majority.
In a statement at the time, Reeves said, “I made it clear that the bill on my desk was not what I would have written.” It is true that the legislators who created the draft) made significant improvements towards achieving the ultimate goal.”
However, the governor praised many provisions of the new law.
“1. Reduce the total amount one person can receive to 3 ounces per month. This one change will reduce the total amount by 40% from the original version (I requested 50%). Another In other words, this improvement will result in hundreds of millions fewer joints on the road,” Reeves said at the time. “2. Medical professionals can only prescribe within their own practice. and they must have a relationship with the patient, and the patient must visit the health care professional in person 3. Only MDs or DOs can prescribe to children under the age of 18. , only with parental/legal guardian consent 4. MD or DO must be prescribed for young adults between the ages of 18-25 5. MSDH to issue packaging and advertising regulations 6. Prohibit industry incentives from the Mississippi Development Authority 7. Prohibit our churches and schools from their locations Protect against having a marijuana dispensary within 1,000 feet.”
Reeves thanked lawmakers for their efforts and expressed hope that “we can put this issue on the back burner and move on to other pressing issues facing the state.”