The notable differences between the Mississippi Medical Cannabis Act and Initiative 65 are as follows:
- Expansion of the definition of debilitating disease to include hepatitis, Alzheimer’s disease, and spastic quadriplegia
- Expansion of the definition of medical cannabis establishments to include cannabis cultivation facility, cannabis processing facility, cannabis testing facility, cannabis dispensary, cannabis transportation entity, cannabis disposal entity, or cannabis research facility licensed and registered by the appropriate agency
- The inclusion of nurse practitioners, physician assistants, and optometrists as certifying practitioners
- The inclusion of the Mississippi Department of Revenue and the Mississippi Department of Agriculture in the regulatory process
- Banks and other financial institutions will be held harmless for providing services to medical cannabis businesses
- The creation of a micro-cultivator and micro-processor license
- The creation of a licensing fee schedule based on canopy size
- A requirement that cultivation facilities and processing facilities be 35% owned by Mississippians for the first calendar year of the bill
- Counties and municipalities shall be permitted to pass local ordinances regarding zoning and land use
- There is a waivable 1,000 feet setback requirement from schools, churches, and child care facilities
- Rules and regulations will be promulgated by all three regulatory bodies: the Mississippi Department of Health, the Mississippi Department of Revenue, and the Mississippi Department of Agriculture
- The creation of a public registry of medical cannabis establishments
- The imposition of an excise tax and sales tax that will revert to the general fund
- The ability of counties and municipalities to opt-out of the cultivation, processing, sale, and distribution of medical cannabis
I expect this process to move quickly. The Mississippi Medical Cannabis Act requires the various state regulatory agencies to begin the licensing process within 60-90 days of passage or the effective date.
This means that all of the regulatory bodies will have to promulgate rules within about 30 days of passage or the effective date, solicit public comment, and staff up accordingly to start processing applications.
We are working with a number of clients right now that have been business planning for months. If you are interested in medical marijuana business opportunities in Mississippi, there is no time to wait. Call us at 601-487-4550 or email us directly at Matthew@McLaughlinPC.com or Conner@McLaughlinPC.com.