It’s official! Mississippi is the 37th state in the nation to legalize medical marijuana. Currently, 36 states and four territories have legalized the use of medical cannabis. On Wednesday, February 2, 2022, Governor Tate Reeves signed SB 2095legalizing Mississippi medical marijuana for patients with debilitating diseases.
The law takes effect immediately, but the Mississippi State Department of Health (MSDH) will have 60 days to begin issuing Mississippi medical marijuana patient cards to eligible patients and 150 days to issue licenses dispensaries. There is no limit to the number of dispensaries. Medical cannabis dispensaries could be operational by the end of the year.
Mississippi Governor Tate Reeves eventually signed a bill to legalize medical cannabis, but not without urging voters to vote against Initiative 65 ahead of the November 2020 election and calling for review after review of the law. latest move to legalize medical cannabis.
In a tweet posted after SB 2095 was signed, Tates said, “There is no doubt that there are individuals in our state who could do much better if they had access to medically prescribed doses of cannabis.”
“There are also those who really want a recreational marijuana program that could get more people to smoke and fewer people to work, with all the societal and family ills that entails,” he continued.
In November 2020, Mississippi voters approved a medical cannabis bill allowing patients to purchase up to five ounces of cannabis per month. Six months later, the state Supreme Court overturned the decision based on a technical violation in the signature collection process.
For several months, lawmakers have been back and forth with revisions based on multiple requests from the governor. In December 2021, the Governor announced that he would veto the bill if the patient’s daily cannabis allowance was not lowered by 50% to 1.75 grams.
In January 2021, the Republican-controlled House and Senate passed the final version of SB 2095, including several compromises requested by the governor. In his tweet, Reeves said, “there will be hundreds of millions less joints on the streets because of this improvement.”
Reeves had until Feb. 2, 2022, to approve, veto, or do nothing about SB 2095. However, a veto from the governor would not have stopped the initiative from passing. The Senate and House passed the bill with about 90% approval between the two chambers, enough to override any possible veto.
What’s in Mississippi’s New Medical Marijuana Law?
Under the new law, only medical professionals who have a relationship with a patient can prescribe medical cannabis as part of their practice during an in-person visit. Patient registration cards would cost $25, although reduced fee options are available.
Only Doctors of Medicine (MD) or Doctors of Osteopathic Medicine (DO) can prescribe cannabis to people under 25. Patients between the ages of 18 and 25 should have the patient diagnosed by two practitioners from different medical practices. Patients under the age of 18 must have parental consent to be prescribed medical marijuana.
Out-of-state residents and those who have resided in the state for less than 45 days can register with MSDH to use medical marijuana if they have a prescription from their home state and have an eligible condition in the Mississippi program. They can only register for a maximum of two 15-day periods per year for $75 each time.
Despite the bill’s momentous passage, many supporters say the bill doesn’t go far enough. While the bill includes more than 20 eligible conditions, patients with chronic pain would first have to try opiates to find relief before they could be prescribed cannabis.
Eligibility requirements for medical marijuana:
Cancer, Parkinson’s disease, Huntington’s disease, muscular dystrophy, glaucoma, spastic quadriplegia, HIV/AIDS, hepatitis, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, sickle cell anemia, Alzheimer’s disease, dementia agitation , post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), autism, pain refractory to appropriate opioid management, diabetic/peripheral neuropathy, spinal cord disease or serious injury, or the treatment of these conditions;
- A chronic, terminal or debilitating disease or medical condition, or its treatment, which produces one or more of the following: cachexia or wasting syndrome, chronic pain, severe or intractable nausea, seizures or severe and persistent muscle spasms, including, but not limited to those characteristic of multiple sclerosis
Although home cultivation is prohibited, patients will be able to purchase up to 3.5 grams of cannabis per day for up to six days a week at dispensaries. 3.5 grams of cannabis equals 1 gram of concentrate or 100 milligrams of THC. cannabis flower will have a 30% THC cap, while concentrates will be capped at 60% THC.
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The bill prevents the state from granting economic development incentives to the industry. Cannabis plants should be grown indoors. Dispensaries should be at least 1,000 feet from churches and schools. Cannabis will be taxed during production and sale. Cannabis will have a 7% sales tax and a 5% excise tax.
Cities and counties have up to 90 days to opt out of the state’s medical cannabis program. However, residents can call for an election to overturn local bans.
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