Medical: Yes, yet to be implemented
Mississippi voters overwhelmingly approved a ballot measure to legalize medical marijuana and establish a state-licensed system of medical cannabis dispensaries in November 2020.
Named Initiative 65, the measure is meant to “ensure the availability of and safe access to medical marijuana for qualified personas with debilitating medical conditions.”
Under the initiative, medical marijuana treatment centers (dispensaries) are allowed to provide a qualified patient with up to 2.5 ounces of medical marijuana per 14-day period, and individual patients are allowed to possess up to 2.5 ounces of medical marijuana at any given time. This can include “any ingredients combined with medical marijuana to prepare edible products, topical products, ointments, oils, tinctures, or other products.”
A timeline for implementation was not clear at the time of writing.
How to get a medical marijuana card in Mississippi
The text of Initiative 65 states that the Mississippi Department of Health or its successor agency will implement and enforce the provisions of the new law, including tracking and labelling of medical marijuana, and the issuing of medical marijuana identification cards, among other roles.
The Department will also be in charge of licensing treatment centers where patients will access medical marijuana.
The rules and regulations the Department will set up “may include a reasonable fee of up to fifty dollars ($50.00) for issuing an identification card.”
To apply for a medical marijuana card, a patient must obtain a physician certification in person. This certification is described as a form approved by the department, signed and dated by the applicant, certifying that a person suffers from a debilitating medical condition for which the use of medical marijuana may mitigate the symptoms and/or effects.
The certification will be valid for 12 months.
The Health Department will not be responsible for setting the price of medical marijuana or deciding how many dispensaries can operate in the state.
The initiative also states that the Health Department has until July 1, 2021 to adopt final rules for the program and shall begin issuing identification cards and treatment center licenses no later than August 15, 2021. This means that actual legal cannabis products for medical purposes may not be available in Mississippi until late 2021.
When they do begin, marijuana sales in Mississippi will be subject to a state tax of 7%.
The new law does not allow home cultivation or public consumption of marijuana.
Qualifying conditions for medical marijuana in Mississippi
Under Initiative 65, the following constitute debilitating medical conditions:
- Epilepsy or other seizures
- Parkinson’s disease
- Huntingtons’ disease,
- Muscular dystrophy
- Multiple sclerosis
- Post traumatic stress disorder
- Positive status for Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV)
- Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS)
- Chronic or debilitating pain
- Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS)
- Agitation of dementias
- Crohn’s disease
- Ulcerative colitis
- Sickle-cell anemia
- Autism with aggressive or self injurious behaviors
- Pain refractory to appropriate opioid management
- Spinal cord disease or severe injury
- Intractable nausea
- Severe muscle spasticity
Patients may also qualify for medical marijuana if they have “another medical condition of the same kind or class to those herein which a physician believes benefits of using medical marijuana would reasonably outweigh potential health risks.”
It appears as though Mississippi will honor medical cards from out of state, although not necessarily for all states. Under the initiative, the Health Department of Mississippi “shall prescribe reasonable rules and regulations” to a number of aspects of the law, including reciprocal agreements with other states.
Where to buy marijuana in Mississippi
Considering that the Health Department has until July 1, 2021 to adopt final rules for the program, it is likely that legal cannabis products for medical purposes will only be available for purchase at dispensaries in Mississippi in late 2021.
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