Mississippians hoping to start medical marijuana businesses are up against a new obstacle: city aldermen.
Despite voters overwhelmingly passing Initiative 65 to create a medical marijuana program in November 2020, the state supreme court struck it down on constitutional technicality. After months of uncertainty, Gov. Tate Reeves signed the Mississippi Medical Cannabis Act into law in February 2022. Now, some local business people hoping to get a foothold in the industry are being blocked by their elected officials.
One Mississippi pharmacist’s plans to open a dispensary in Brandon are paused indefinitely and cultivators with hopes of growing the plant in nearby cities are facing the same hurdles.
Four city boards in Brandon, Ridgeland, Gluckstadt and Pass Christian have already voted to sit out of the state’s medical marijuana program and at least a few others from Winona to Sumrall are likely to take up their own opt-out vote ahead of the state’s May deadline. Patients in opt-out cities can still possess medical cannabis, but the municipalities won’t allow dispensaries or cultivators to open businesses within their limits – at least for now.
“This was expected,” said Slates Veazey, a Jackson attorney and expert in cannabis law. “It’s something businesses and the industry have been watching closely. More cities are likely to do the same.” [Read more at Mississippi Today]