Yesterday, a new measure to legalize medicinal bud was introduced in Mississippi. Now, it is set to be reviewed by the Ole Miss Senate committee as soon as this afternoon. A medicinal cannabis measure could be up and running by the end of this year if the long-awaited cannabis legislation in Mississippi becomes a statute this session.
The measure’s road to passage, nevertheless, is unstable. GovernorTate Reeves (R) has already hinted at vetoing the bill regarding its proposed bud purchase limits, which Reeves says are too much, and some other Ole Miss officials remain concerned. Despite this, backing lawmakers have expressed they’re certain they’ll have the votes to overthrow any veto from Reeves and push the weed legislation through.
Medical cannabis is still a contentious topic in the state despite citizens there decisively approving a general legalization initiative a few months ago. The MS Supreme Court toppled the measure on technical grounds in the spring of 2021—while doing away with the MS initiative process at the same time—and legislators have spent the last few months navigating what their next moves should be.
The new measure, SB 2095, backed by Sen. Kevin Blackwell (R), pulled a lot from provisions negotiated by legislators in the latter half of last year, as legislative leaders drafted a bill for an expected special process that Reeves never declared. Instead, it would permit patients with nearly 24 specific medical problems to qualify for medical cannabis with a doctor’s note, with further ailments able to be added later by MS lawmakers. State-issued weed cards would command $25, although some patients may be eligible for a lower rare.
The proposed permitting conditions are similar to most strict medical cannabis states. Virtually all of the qualifying ailments are life-threatening. These conditions are:
- Parkinson’s Disease
- Huntington’s Disease
- Muscular Dystrophy
- Spastic Quadriplegia
- Hepatitis C
- Alzheimer’s Disease
- Sickle-cell Anemia
- Crohn’s Disease
- Ulcerative Colitis
- Spinal cord disease
The measure also lists a few more severe medical conditions that would qualify patients to receive medicinal cannabis in Mississippi.
Listed patients would be subject to ownership limits that would bar them to no more than one “medicinal cannabis correspondence unit” daily, which the measure listed as 3.5 grams of modern cannabis flower, 1 gram of cannabis concentrate, or up to 100 milligrams of the psychoactive cannabinoid in cannabis-infused products. While those limits are significantly less than in most states where cannabis is lawful for medicinal patients, the governor has expressed the program should consider only half of those amounts.
Patients or stewards would be barred from growing their own weed under the measure. Products from state-licensed businesses, in the meantime, would be barred to 30 percent THC for traditional cannabis flower and 60 percent for cannabis concentrates.
Smoking and vaping cannabis would remain forbidden in public and in cars, and consumers would still be banned from driving while under the influence of cannabis.
Cannabis legalization backers believe the nearly 450-page measure embodies a middle ground between the plans approved by nearly three-quarters of MS voters last year and a far more inflexible approach backed by Reeves and select lawmakers in Mississippi.
The cannabis legislation would authorize the Mississippi Department of Health to manage the new weed industry in Ole Miss, with assistance from the state Department of Revenue and the Department of Agriculture and Commerce.
Licensing of cannabis enterprises aside from dispensaries would begin three months after the measure’s passing, with the initial licenses passed out about a month after the latter. The dispensary licensing procedure would start five months after passing, with the first licenses coming a month later.
As always, we will keep you posted.