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Mississippi Celebrates Launch of Medical Cannabis Sales

A handful of Mississippi dispensaries had opened for business on January 25. Mississippi Trade Association Executive Director Melvin C. Robinson stood outside one of the state’s licensed dispensaries, The Cannabis Company, to welcome customers. “It’s a very exciting day today. History has been made in Brookhaven,” Robinson said.

Debbie McDermott was the first customer of Brookhaven’s The Cannabis Company. “I do suffer from chronic pain and I have some other issues,” she said about why she became a medical cannabis cardholder. McDermott had to wait two hours before McDermott could buy her medication.

Le Anne Penn was co-owner and chief executive officer of the Cannabis Company. The Daily LeaderShe changed her profession to get into the cannabis industry. “It has been a fun journey. It was a fun journey. The business will be different from what I was doing before,” Penn said. “I was a body technician for 40 years. Because I was inspired by the opportunities in the industry, and because people need it, I chose to go this route. Hopefully this will help people who need it or can’t take opioids or other medicines.”

Another news outlet reported that dispensaries were also selling Jan. 25, with many more expected to get their orders over the weekend.

This program’s launch was long anticipated, says Ken Newburger of Mississippi Medical Marijuana Association. “We have been working since 2018 to get medical marijuana in the hands of patients in Mississippi, and it’s surreal to see it finally come to fruition,” said Newburger. “This is only the beginning. More and more businesses will be harvesting, testing, and getting their products on the shelves in the coming months; therefore, more patients will have access to this medicine at certified businesses all across the state.”

A medical marijuana card holder can buy up to 3 ounces of cannabis per month, 6 days a semaine, and may consume a maximum amount of 3.5 grams daily. The state currently allows medical marijuana to be used by patients who have one of these qualifying conditions. This includes a total of 20 conditions,  such as cancer, Parkinson’s disease, glaucoma, Crohn’s disease, autism, and muscular dystrophy. Six other conditions and symptoms, in addition to those mentioned, are: severe or irreversible nausea, seizures and severe and persistent spasms.

Original Initiative 65 was approved by voters in November 2020. On April 20,21, opponents to legalized medical cannabis were allowed to challenge the election results by the Mississippi Supreme Court. The court struck down Initiative 65, declaring that it was not constitutionally sound. As the year progressed, legislators continued to talk about medical marijuana. In September, they moved to implement a plan to legalize medicinal cannabis.

Mississippi governor. Tate Reeves stopped the development of a medical cannabis bill in November 2021. However, he eventually agreed to details in January 2022 and signed the new law in February. “There is no doubt that there are individuals in our state who could do significantly better if they had access to medically prescribed doses of cannabis,” Reeves said in a press statement. “There are also those who really want a recreational marijuana program that could lead to more people smoking and less people working, with all of the societal and family ills that that brings.”

In October 2022, the state has issued provisional licenses to 491 work permits, 138 dispensaries, 47 cultivators, eight processors, four transportation businesses, three “disposal companies,” and two testing facilities. 

There were 2,311 applicants as of December 20,22. 1 321 applications had been approved. 990 more are being processed. Since Jan. 23, over 1,700 applications have been approved.