Mississippi board sets timeline to start medical marijuana

Members of the Mississippi Board of Health say regulations for a medical marijuana program will be in place by a July 1 deadline.

Posted: Feb 4, 2021 11:30 AM

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — Regulations for a medical marijuana program in Mississippi will be in place by a July 1 deadline, members of the state Board of Health said Wednesday. But they cautioned that it's unclear how soon marijuana might be available to patients.

Aug. 15 is the deadline for the state to begin issuing licenses for dispensaries and cards for patients.

“I worry that there's a little bit of a misconception among some in the public about what that means,” board member Jim Perry said during a meeting Wednesday. “They may be expecting that on Aug. 15, that you can walk into a dispensary or treatment center, whatever the nomenclature may be, and say, ‘I got my card this morning. I’m here for my marijuana.'”

Perry said growing marijuana plants for the program could take months. He said people cannot grow plants before they get a license, and then regulators will need to test the medicinal strength of the plants.

“It could be months after Aug. 15 before there's actually product at a treatment center for a cardholder to purchase,” Perry said.

The state health officer, Dr. Thomas Dobbs, said it could take six to nine weeks for growers to get viable plants for use in the program. He said the Health Department could try to “get a little ahead” of the July 1 and Aug. 15 deadlines.

Mississippi residents voted by a wide margin in November to adopt a medical marijuana initiative. The constitutional amendment requires the Health Department to create a program so marijuana can be available to people with “debilitating” medical conditions. The long list includes cancer, epilepsy and sickle cell anemia.

During the Board of Health meeting Wednesday, Dr. Luke Lampton said that based on conversations he has had with Mississippi residents, he would like the board to limit involvement by out-of-state corporations in growing or dispensing medical marijuana.

The Mississippi Supreme Court is set to hear arguments April 14 in Madison Mayor Mary Hawkins Butler's lawsuit that is seeking to block the medical marijuana program. She argues that the initiative was improperly on the ballot because petitioners gathered signatures from outdated congressional districts. State attorneys argue that the petitioners were using guidance from a former attorney general.

Separately, Mississippi legislators are starting to consider bills that would regulate a medical marijuana program — a route that might be needed if the Supreme Court sides with Butler.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 308111

Reported Deaths: 7122
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto20826248
Hinds19910411
Harrison17510302
Rankin13334276
Jackson13118243
Madison9908210
Lee9871170
Jones8297160
Forrest7525147
Lauderdale7198237
Lowndes6272144
Lamar611084
Lafayette6039117
Washington5281133
Bolivar4772129
Oktibbeha455897
Panola4445103
Pearl River4428141
Warren4284118
Marshall4276100
Pontotoc416972
Monroe4061132
Union403975
Neshoba3994176
Lincoln3871109
Hancock372885
Leflore3468124
Sunflower329589
Tate322782
Pike3188104
Scott310872
Yazoo304468
Alcorn298065
Itawamba297177
Copiah293265
Coahoma289778
Simpson288284
Tippah284868
Prentiss275759
Marion266079
Leake261373
Wayne261341
Grenada255384
Covington254780
Adams246082
Newton245161
George238147
Winston225981
Tishomingo222267
Jasper219748
Attala213473
Chickasaw205057
Holmes186872
Clay182854
Stone179331
Clarke177076
Tallahatchie175540
Calhoun163531
Yalobusha159236
Smith158834
Walthall130643
Greene129433
Lawrence126423
Noxubee126233
Montgomery125542
Perry125138
Carroll120926
Amite120141
Webster113532
Jefferson Davis105432
Tunica102725
Claiborne101330
Benton97325
Kemper95428
Humphreys94332
Franklin82123
Quitman78916
Choctaw73417
Wilkinson64928
Jefferson64828
Sharkey49617
Issaquena1686
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 520503

Reported Deaths: 10722
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson754091487
Mobile38938798
Madison33898495
Tuscaloosa25297443
Montgomery23992567
Shelby23124239
Baldwin20652300
Lee15541165
Calhoun14301311
Morgan14145270
Etowah13665346
Marshall11967219
Houston10381278
Elmore10001200
Limestone9822147
Cullman9481188
St. Clair9435234
Lauderdale9223227
DeKalb8748181
Talladega8071171
Walker7100275
Jackson6762110
Autauga6734103
Blount6497135
Colbert6210130
Coffee5404112
Dale4766110
Russell429038
Franklin419982
Chilton4087109
Covington4056114
Tallapoosa3898146
Escambia388574
Dallas3531149
Chambers3503122
Clarke346560
Marion3066100
Pike305876
Lawrence295395
Winston272572
Bibb256459
Marengo248661
Geneva245875
Pickens233059
Barbour225255
Hale218775
Butler212566
Fayette209260
Henry187744
Cherokee182144
Randolph176941
Monroe172040
Washington164238
Macon154848
Clay149555
Crenshaw149257
Cleburne146241
Lamar139334
Lowndes136553
Wilcox124327
Bullock121340
Conecuh109128
Perry107926
Sumter102932
Coosa99328
Greene91034
Choctaw58724
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Showers linger across the area as a cold front passes Wednesday afternoon. This will keep temperatures far cooler than average. Some of these showers may linger into the overnight as well.
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