MS Medical Cannabis Program Proposals

Conner Reeves

DOH Initial Regulations

In early April the Mississippi Department of Health published its first round of regulations for Mississippi’s medical cannabis program. These initial regulations only address testing labs, advertising and marketing, and work permits for all medical cannabis establishment employees.

Future regulations will address topics such as cultivators, processors, transporters, disposal entities, and obtaining patient ID cards. These regulations provide the details as to how this medical cannabis program will actually function and guide licensees on what to expect through the application process.

Below is a summary of the proposed Subparts 1,3 and 4 of the Medical Cannabis Program regulations from the Mississippi Department of Health addressing cannabis testing facilities, advertising and marketing, and work permits, respectively. Complete versions of these draft regulations can also be found on the Mississippi Department of Health website. The summaries below address the key points impacting all license types and are not a complete representation of each rule.

Cannabis Testing Facilities

  • Medical cannabis establishments required to test products must utilize a licensed testing lab in the State of Mississippi.
  • A testing lab cannot employ a person who also is employed by or is an owner of another licensed medical cannabis establishment.
  • Testing labs shall test medical cannabis products for: pesticides, water activity and moisture content, THC and CBD concentration, heavy metals, microbiological contaminants, mycotoxins, terpenes, solvents, and foreign materials.
  • The requirement to test falls on the cultivation facility or processing facility prior to the sale or distribution of product.
  • Employees/agents of the testing lab are responsible for the collection and transportation of samples.
  • Batch/sample size is undefined.

MS Medical Cannabis Program

MS Medical Marijuana Program

Advertising and Marketing

  • Medical cannabis establishments are essentially prohibited from all forms of advertising and marketing, with a few exceptions.
  • Prohibited activities include (1) broadcast or electronic media including radio, TV, unsolicited internet pop-up ads, and social media; (2) print media including newspapers; and (3) other forms including mass text messaging, mass email, public display of cannabis products in store windows, billboards, or other public advertisements, solicited or paid patient testimonies or reviews, or practitioner endorsements. 
  • No advertisement can include the following: depiction of actual consumption of cannabis; promotion of the overconsumption of cannabis; making any health, medicinal, or therapeutic claims; making safety claims; the depiction of a cannabis leaf or bud; any image that would appeal to minors such as animals, cartoons, etc.
  • Licensees may only participate in the following branding activities: maintaining a public website containing contact information, location information, and available products; listing in directories; sponsorships of health or not-for-profit charity or advocacy events. 
  • All branding must include the medical cannabis establishment's license number.
  • Branding must not target minors, pregnant women, breastfeeding women, or promote the non-medical use of cannabis.
  • All business signage must adhere to local zoning and permitting requirements.
  • Medical cannabis establishments are generally prohibited from providing any type of inducement to a cannabis purchaser including: discount cards; coupons; "punch cards" to offer free-discounted products; promotion of sales or discounts; buy one/get one promotions; daily/weekly/monthly deals; product giveaways; and product sampling.
  • A limited exception to the prohibition on inducements is that the applicable licensing agency (Dept. of Health or Dept. of Revenue) can allow medical cannabis establishments with formal partnerships with licensed cannabis research facilities to research cannabis/develop best practices for specific medical conditions.

Work Permits

  • Any "agent" of a medical cannabis establishment must get a work permit from the Mississippi Department of Health prior to working and such permit is valid for five (5) years.
  • This applies to all workers of any medical cannabis establishment regardless is such entities are regulated by the Mississippi Department of Health or the Mississippi Department of Revenue.
  • Agent is defined as an owner, officer, board member, employee, volunteer, or agent of a medical cannabis establishment.
  • The agent must be at least 21 years old.
  • The applicant must complete a fingerprint-based background check with the Mississippi Central Criminal Database and the FBI Criminal History Database.
  • The applicant must not have a disqualifying felony offense, which is defined as a conviction for (1) a crime of violence under Mississippi law, (2) a violent crime classified as a felony in the jurisdiction in which such conviction occurred, or (3) a violation of a federal or state controlled substance law that was classified as a felony where the conviction occurred, including the service of any term of probation, incarceration, or supervised release within the previous five (5) years and the offender has not committed another similar offense since the first conviction.
  • "Disqualifying felony offense" does not include a conviction that consisted of conduct that would likely have been permitted under the Mississippi Medical Cannabis Act but for the fact that such conduct occurred before the effective date of the new law. No further explanation is provided in the law or regulations regarding how this will be determined or verified by an applicant.
  • Applicants must submit a photo ID, copy of current driver's license, copies of all current state issued professional licenses, and a $25 application fee.
  • The state can perform the background check or the director of the medical cannabis establishment can attest that a background check has been performed. No clarification was provided as to how this is verified if the employer performs it. 

Rules and regulations for MS medical marijuana

If you would like to have a license as early as possible, you must take steps now to get your application components in order. We will provide additional summaries of the upcoming MSDH regulations and the newly-proposed Department of Revenue regulations on dispensaries, so check back frequently. Its important to stay up-to-date with the latest developments in this emerging market. You can always depend on McLaughlin, PC to have their finger on the pulse of the Mississippi medical cannabis program. If you would like to discuss any of the bullet points or learn more about our strategies for your business, please contact us today.

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Conner Reeves

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DOH Initial Regulations
Posted on: 04/15/2022
In early April the Mississippi Department of Health published its first round of regulations for Mississippi’s medical cannabis program. These initial regulations only address testing labs, advertising and marketing, and work permits for all medical cannabis establishment employees.

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