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Positive Momentum is accompanied by setbacks in the Mississippi Medical Cannabis Environment | Bradley Arant Boult Cummings LLP

Positive Momentum is accompanied by setbacks in the Mississippi Medical Cannabis Environment | Bradley Arant Boult Cummings LLP

As the world moves in the new exciting world of legal medicinal cannabis in Mississippi, momentum is a constant companion to impediments. 

The Good

Yesterday, the Mississippi Department of Health announced two announcements. These announcements show that the MDOH is moving forward towards establishing a medical cannabis program within the June and July deadlines set forth in the Medical Cannabis Act. Specifically, Mississippi has contracted with one private entity to help administer the licensing platform for the cannabis program – NIC Licensing Solutions – and another private entity to help manage the seed-to-sale tracking system with which medical cannabis establishments must comply – Metrc. As the MDOH’s announcement expressly states, these public/private partnerships demonstrate a medical cannabis program “committed to government cooperation and partnerships as it continues to work aggressively to meet regulatory deadlines set forth by the Legislature and signed by Governor Tate Reeves.” Is this cause to celebrate? We say yes, but…

The Not So Good

The list of Mississippi counties and municipalities opting out from medical cannabis is growing. Since our last update, This topicAt least four additional municipalities (Madison and Philadelphia, Horn Lake and Flora), and six counties (Tippah and Lincoln, Newton, Neshoba and Lauderdale) have opted out or indicated that they may vote this way in the near future. As the May 3 deadline for local governments is nearing, we expect more activity. This is something we are closely monitoring, as well as the efforts being made across the state to gather signatures to establish local, special elections that could override the opt-out decisions.

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As we discussed previously, localities that don’t opt out can adopt ordinances that limit medical marijuana establishment operations beyond what is allowed by the new law. Elvis Presley’s hometown of Tupelo has done just that. The city’s development code was officially amended yesterday to, among other things, preclude any medical cannabis businesses in Tupelo’s Fairpark District, require special approval by the planning committee to operate a cultivation facility that is larger than 15,000 square feet, and require payment of a “nominal administrative fee” and obtaining a special privilege license and building permit to operate a medical cannabis business. 

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