In November, Mississippi passed Initiative 65 which legalized medical marijuana statewide. While the legalization hurdle has been cleared, there is still a complex process that must be worked through before the state’s MMJ program goes into effect. If you’re considering opening a medical cannabis operation in Mississippi, it’s crucial that you become familiar with the laws and regulations governing this fledgling industry.
The following information will provide you with a basic overview of the important points to understand regarding Mississippi’s new cannabis industry. For a more detailed explanation of what is involved in the process, we recommend that you speak with one of our expert consultants.
American Cannabis Company has extensive experience helping individuals open a new cannabis business in states that have just legalized. We understand the complex process involved, and we can set you up for success in your new business venture.
When Will Medical Cannabis Be Available in Mississippi?
Initiative 65 has set two deadlines to ensure the process moves forward in a timely manner:
- July 1 – Mississippi State Department of Health (MSDH) must implement provisions of the amendment and issue rules and regulations for the medical marijuana program
- August 15 – The state must begin issuing identification cards and licenses for treatment centers
Based on these deadlines, it’s possible that medical cannabis will be available sometime this fall. However, this timeline is dependent on how smoothly the process of establishing the state MMJ program goes.
Who Is Governing Mississippi’s Medical Cannabis Program?
The Mississippi State Department of Health will regulate the medical marijuana program. The MSDH is governed by an 11-member Board of Health appointed by the governor. The MSDH will be responsible for:
- Issuing ID cards to patients
- Licensing growers and dispensers of medical cannabis
- Licensing caregivers who assist patients in obtaining and using cannabis
- Establishing licensing fees and other qualifications
However, the MSDH will not have the ability to regulate the price of medical marijuana. While the state can’t charge sales tax on MMJ products, the MSDH will be able to assess surcharges up to the current sales tax rate in order to fund the regulation of the state medical cannabis industry.
What Are the Regulations Governing Cannabis Business Licenses in Mississippi?
Currently, Mississippi is only offering licenses for a “Medical Marijuana Treatment Center.” These businesses must be properly registered and licensed in order to engage in any activities associated with the processing or sale of medical cannabis. The is no limit on the number of licenses that can be issued statewide.
When preparing your application for licensure, it’s important to create a cannabis business plan. This plan must detail:
- What kind of dispensary you plan on opening
- How long you plan to operate in Mississippi
- What the main points of your business are
It’s also important to understand that municipal regulations may vary across the state. Some cities and counties may have more favorable rules, while others may have regulations that are more restrictive to opening a new cannabis business. Therefore, it’s always a good idea to research these local laws before determining the location of your business.
Potential Challenges Facing Mississippi’s New Medical Cannabis Program
While the largest hurdle (passing Initiative 65) has been cleared, there are still several challenges to overcome as Mississippi rolls out their new medical marijuana program. Most importantly, the ballot initiative must pass a review by the Mississippi Supreme Court that questions the validity of the ballot measure. This ruling is expected to come shortly.
Once this review has been completed, the MSDH will be tasked with outlining all regulations associated with the medical cannabis program by the July 1 deadline. This will involve a steep learning curve for the MSDH since many of the items to be addressed lie outside of their current area of expertise. Initiative 65 allows for the creation of an advisory committee to assist the MSDH with their regulatory activities, and this should provide important guidance as they finalize the details of the new program.
Another significant challenge the state may face involves funding for the new program. Initiative 65 established $2.5 million in funding for the MSDH to use in association with creating the medical cannabis program. However, the MSDH believes this amount will likely only cover a fraction of the costs associated with this task. It has been estimated that closer to $10 million in funding will be required to adequately establish the new program. This may force the MSDH to request additional funding from the Mississippi legislature.
In addition to the shortage of funding, the MSDH may also face a staffing issue. The agency is already spread thin in their resources and staffing before being tasked with managing the new MMJ program. This added responsibility may potentially create an even greater strain on their limited resources, which may impact the rollout of this new program.
American Cannabis Company Can Help You Establish Your New Business
The legal hurdles associated with establishing a new cannabis business in Mississippi can be overwhelming. Regulations are still being formulated, and the licensure process is highly complex. It’s crucial that you have an experienced cannabis consulting partner who can guide you through the process and ensure your business is compliant with all regulations.
American Cannabis Company has helped a wide range of business owners establish cannabis operations throughout the country. We’ve worked with many businesses in states that had just legalized cannabis, and we understand the important issues that must be addressed in the early stages of a state rolling out their new program. Our team can help you navigate these legal hurdles in order to set your new business venture up for success.
We’re the only cannabis pre-license specialists in the United States with a License Right™ approach for obtaining a license and starting a new cannabis business. This approach involves:
- Tailoring our recommendations to ensure they adhere to Mississippi guidelines and regulations
- A detailed explanation of the opportunities available that meet your specific goals
- Cohesive and comprehensive business planning
- Our exclusive Green Profits Operations Roadmap™
- Our Aligned Success Guarantee™
Our consultants will take a flexible approach that places your specific needs and business goals at the forefront of the process. We’ll collaborate with you to establish a detailed business plan that encompasses every aspect of your operation. By joining our community, you’ll benefit from working with a team that possesses the knowledge necessary to allow your new cannabis business to thrive.
If you’re interested in opening a medical cannabis business in Mississippi, it’s crucial that you start planning right away. American Cannabis Company can provide important guidance in the early stages of the planning process to set your new business up for success.
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