Mississippi’s cannabis program is up and running, but don’t expect to buy any products anytime soon.
“It looks like it will probably be the end of the year before we’ll see product in the dispensaries in Mississippi,” said Jim Craig, MSDH senior deputy and director of health protection.
The Mississippi State Department of Health started accepting online applications from businesses, cultivators, patients and practitioners this month.
The only products the health department expects to sell will come from Mississippi cultivators once their licenses have been approved, products planted and cultivated, and then products tested and approved by the state’s labs.
“This is a brand new program and I know everyone would love for it to be fully up and operational, but there is a time period where the cultivators and processors actually grow the product,” Craig said. “Businesses have to get established, they have to hire and they have to get crops in the ground. They will need to be products that are approved and tested in Mississippi.”
To date, 1,800 patients have applied for a medical marijuana card.
“About 85% of those registrants are patients,” said Kris Jones, director of the Mississippi Medical Cannabis Program.
“When a patient applicant is approved, an electronic medical cannabis patient identification card will be issued,” said Jones.
To qualify for the use of medical marijuana, you must be diagnosed with a debilitating condition by a registered practitioner, who must be of the medical opinion that cannabis would help the patient’s condition or symptoms.
Before submitting an application, patients must see a practitioner who has registered with the program and the practitioner must submit the patients online certification of the diagnosis, which lasts for 12 months unless the practitioner specifies a shorter period. Certification also requires a 6-month checkup after using medical cannabis.
“The required practitioner written certification will be completed by the practitioner through an online submission no greater than 60 days prior to the patient’s application to participate in the medical cannabis program,” Jones said. Once the application is submitted, program patients will be approved within five days, according to the health department.
MSDH has also received 15 dispensary applications, 12 work permits and nine practitioner applications since the program started this month.
“And those numbers are growing daily,” Jones said.
The Mississippi Medical Cannabis Program provided an online guide to applying for patient registration cards, business licenses and cultivator licenses on their website. The website also includes regulations for each aspect of the medical marijuana program.
Very few cities or counties on the Mississippi Coast opted out of medical cannabis. Those who remain in the program have been adding to zoning regulations to determine where dispensaries and cultivators will be allowed. The Department of Revenue will handle the licensing, inspection and oversight of medical marijuana dispensaries.
“The dispensaries are coming online a little bit later and that is a statutory requirement that the Department of Revenue … will actually license dispensaries,” Jones said. “That will start July 1. ”
Once proposed dispensary owners submit applications for licensing on or after July 1, the revenue department will have 30 days to process the application.
How much does it cost?
The MSDH will charge application fees for practitioners and most patients. Here’s what it will cost you:
Registry Identification card: $25
Designated caregiver registry identification card: $25
Designated caregiver criminal background check: $37
Renewal or replacement fee for cards: $25
Nonresident card: $75
Qualifying patient registry identification card application for a Medicaid participant: $15
Fee for renewal of a Medicaid participant’s card: $15
Application fee for a qualifying patient registry identification card for disabled veterans or disabled first responders: Free (waived)
This story was originally published June 6, 2022 10:39 AM.
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