Mississippi is the hottest state in the South when it comes to the growing cannabis industry. Our team attended Cannacon Biloxi and is here to provide the latest updates on the bourgeoning medical cannabis industry in Mississippi.
1. Mississippi legalized medical marijuana in 2022.
As of December 31, 2022 there were 1700 MMJ cardholders. As of February 25, 2023 there are 2670, so the numbers are steadily growing despite media misinformation about MMJ card issuance precluding a user from firearm purchase.
2. There are 2.2M people over the age of 18 in Mississippi, and more than 12% of the state has a disability.
Between Arkansas, Louisiana, and Florida there are nearly 700,000 patients who would qualify for medical marijuana in Mississippi, even with a paltry list of 22 qualifying conditions – 100x the number of current cardholders.
3. Pervasive myths about MMJ card possession and firearm ownership have been barriers to MMJ card adoption.
New laws currently in the Senate include specific protections that would remove any ability for lawmakers to seize guns or limit gun purchases for MMJ cardholders.
SECTION 8. Discrimination prohibited. (1) A person shall not be denied custody of or visitation rights or parenting time with a minor solely for the person’s status as a cardholder.
(2) No school, landlord or employer may be penalized or denied any benefit under state law for enrolling, leasing to or employing a cardholder.
(3) A registered qualifying patient or registered designated caregiver shall not be denied the right to own, purchase or possess a firearm, firearm accessory or ammunition based solely on his or her status as a registered qualifying patient or registered designated caregiver. No state or local agency, municipal or county governing authority shall restrict, revoke, suspend or otherwise infringe upon the right of a person to own, purchase or possess a firearm, firearm accessory or ammunition or any related firearms license or certification based solely on his or her status as a registered qualifying patient or registered designated caregiver.
4. Currently 290 active business licenses for cannabis cultivators, processors, or retailers. And 1281 work permits.
161 practitioners meet the requirements to recommend cannabis (it cannot be prescribed), though most do not promote that they meet these requirements.
- However, there are several major impediments to MMJ card adoption in Mississippi.
- 18-24 year olds have to pay double to get an MMJ card
- MMJ card system requires a drug test for sign up. Despite that drug test not being logged anywhere, or impacting the eligibility of the individual for the MMJ card, this creates suspicion that deters users from signing up for the program.
5. Mississippi is open for business.
The residency requirements for dispensary or cultivator licenses were eliminated on December 31, 2022 – this means that MSOs can now enter the market with no local partners.
6. Mississippi has low limits for weekly purchase -only 3.5 grams (1 MMCEU) can be purchased per cardholder – well below limits in other states.
There has been major confusion around whether this was a weekly limit, or a rolling 7-day limit. New laws will clarify that this is a rolling 7-day purchase limit, which means dispensaries will need a way to track purchases per customer, per visit, against a weekly maximum.
7. DHS and DOR reserve the right to shut off dispensary, cultivator, and user licenses at any time if they determine that the market is saturated.
8. Hemp products are 100% legal in Mississippi – regardless of THC concentration.
They can even be purchased by minors. Mississippi is one of the few states that does not regulate Hemp production or purchase in any way and is one of the only states with no regulations around hemp. For example: there is no regulation around usage of the marijuana leaf imagery if tied to a hemp product. You can purchase hemp products, even those that meet the definitions of “mind altering”, at grocery stories and gas stations.
9. Mississippi was the only state to lose population during the first 6 months of the pandemic, despite having the lowest cost of living in the country.
The brain drain is most pronounced amongst millennials and college graduates. They typically leave to Texas, Georgia, and Virginia.
10. All program profits from cannabis taxes go to the General Fund of the Legislature, and thusly can be used for any program within Mississippi.
Mississippi is being seen as the model for rollout of MMJ programs, and economic development in the cannabis space in the South and in deeply conservative states which historically have been the most anti-cannabis. Grassroots community advocacy, legislator outreach, and trade organizations are being used as key initiatives for coalition building as the state’s cannabis industry leaders look to speed ahead of other states who have yet to launch even medical cannabis programs. While this is only the beginning of the Cannabis industry in Mississippi and the gulf south, we will be following along every step of the way and offering solutions to ensure state businesses can easily remain compliant. Our team of cannabis experts is always here to help, so should you have any questions about how to get set up in your dispensary, be sure to contact us.