Cannabis Law: New Medical Marijuana Program Agreement – Sept. 23, 2021

Good news! As of Sept. 23, 2021, Mississippi lawmakers have reached an agreement related to a medical marijuana program. Lawmakers intend to ask Gov. Reeves for a special session to implement this program. We are keeping an eye out for this to occur.

While this is great news, the new program designed by the lawmakers does differ from the initial proposed program in Initiative 65. See below for some of the differences and key points from the new proposed program. Please call HAT LAW if you have additional questions.

Limitations on growing

It appears from the proposed regulations that only indoor growing of marijuana will be allowed.

Regulatory departments

The Mississippi Department of Health, Mississippi Department of Agriculture, and the Mississippi Department of Revenue will work together to issue rules and regulations.

Mississippi’s lieutenant governor will also establish an advisory committee made up of nine individuals to advise the legislature about medical marijuana and the industry in Mississippi.

Local ordinances

Local jurisdictions will be able to enact ordinances that govern medical marijuana operations as long as the jurisdiction does not prohibit dispensaries altogether.

Taxes and banking

The proposed law states that an excise tax and a sales tax will be implemented against medical marijuana. The excise tax will be charged against the cultivation facilities, and the tax will be based on the weight of the cannabis at the time the facility sells or transfers the product. The excise tax will consist of $15.00 per ounce of flower or trim. The sales tax will be charged on the gross receipts from each sale of medical cannabis.

Another important element of the proposed program is that banks in Mississippi who engage in business with medical marijuana facilities will be held harmless under state law. However, nothing in the proposed program requires banks to provide financial services to a medical marijuana business.

Qualifications for owners

To qualify, individuals must prove that they have been a resident of Mississippi and a U.S. citizen for at least three years prior to the application.

Qualification for business entities requires proof that at least 35% of the equity ownership interest is held by individuals who have been residents of the state and U.S. citizens for at least three years prior to the application date.

Amount of marijuana

The proposed regulations limit a patient to 32 MMCEUs in a 30-day period or eight MMCEUs in one day.

An MMCEU is defined as “Mississippi Medical Cannabis Equivalency Unit.” One MMCEU is the same as 3.5 grams of cannabis flower, 1 gram of cannabis concentrate, or 100 milligrams of THC-infused product.

Debilitating conditions

All conditions in Initiative 65 will be included in the new medical marijuana program, with the addition of:

  1. Hepatitis
  2. Alzheimer’s disease
  3. Spastic quadriplegia

More clarification is needed from the department on whether physicians will still be able to make judgment calls on any additional conditions.