The voters have spoken — medical marijuana in Mississippi is a done deal. But whenever MMJ passes in a new state, there are always immediate questions from potential patients. In this article, we’ll discuss what we know about medical cannabis in the state so far, including who qualifies, how to get MMJ, and how to get a medical marijuana card in Mississippi.
Is Medical Marijuana Legal in Mississippi?
Yep, medical marijuana is officially legal in the Magnolia state. Despite all the leaders that did not want it, voters easily passed Initiative 65 on Nov. 3 — over 70% of voters said yes.
But even though the hard work of legalizing MMJ is done, there is still a long road ahead that starts with establishing the regulations for the program. The Mississippi State Department of Health (MSDH) is in charge of getting the medical cannabis program off the ground. Along with issuing ID cards to patients, MSDH will be responsible for licensing growers and dispensers of medical marijuana, as well as patient caregivers.
What’s nice is that while MSDH will have broad discretion over licensing fees and other qualifications, it is prohibited from limiting the number of licensed growers and dispensaries. The amendment also says that MSDH can’t regulate the price of MMJ.
The MSDH must adopt regulation for Mississippi’s medical cannabis program by July 1, 2021, and it must also begin issuing medical marijuana ID cards to patients, and licenses to medical marijuana businesses, by August 15, 2021.
How to Qualify for Medical Marijuana in MS
The MSDH is still hashing out rules pertaining to how to get approved for medical cannabis and who will be able to be able to use MMJ. But the amendment does outline some specifics like qualifying conditions.
Here are the 22 qualifying medical conditions for marijuana patients:
- Epilepsy or other seizures
- Parkinson’s disease
- Huntington’s disease
- Muscular dystrophy
- Multiple sclerosis
- Cachexia (weakness and wasting due to chronic illness)
- Post-traumatic stress disorder
- Chronic or debilitating pain
- Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or ALS
- Agitation from dementia
- Crohn’s disease
- Ulcerative colitis
- Sickle-cell anemia
- Autism with aggressive or self-injurious behaviors
- Pain refractory to appropriate opioid management
- Spinal cord disease or severe injury
- Intractable nausea
- Severe muscle spasticity
- Other conditions where a physician believes the benefits of marijuana would outweigh risks
How Do I Get a Medical Cannabis Card in MS?
Again, the MSDH is currently creating the rules for the Mississippi medical cannabis program, which must be completed by July 1, 2021. But there are a few things we know, so far, from the amendment. Like in most states, patients will have to be certified by a physician. The patient must have one of the 22 debilitating medical conditions listed above. The price of a medical card has been set at $50. Once approved, a patient must purchase their MMJ at a licensed treatment center (what MS is calling dispensaries).
Where Do I Go for MMJ in Mississippi?
Another thing people want to know once medical cannabis becomes legal in their state is, “Are there dispensaries near me?” Dispensaries in Mississippi are called treatment centers. Because the state will not begin the process of licensing growers or dispensers until Aug. 15, 2021, patients can expect it to be awhile before treatment centers are up and running. According to the Sun Herald, experts don’t expect cannabis products to be available until early 2022. Like in most states, there will be a period during which there are thousands of MMJ cardholders, but no medical marijuana medicine for them to purchase. Unless MS decides to allow home cultivation.
Does My State Have Medical Marijuana Doctors?
In Mississippi, so far, the proposal states that a patient must receive their MMJ evaluation from a primary care provider who has a known relationship with the patient. Initiative 65 also requires, at this time, that patients have in-person visits for their evaluation. This excludes telehealth visits. However, any of these current legal provisions regarding MMJ physician certification could change in the final draft. Due to COVID-19, temporary telehealth visits may be implemented.
Elevate Holistics will keep you posted on the progress of Mississippi’s medical marijuana program.
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