On February 2, 2022, Governor Reeves signed bipartisan legislation, SB 2095, and Mississippi became the 37th state to legalize medical cannabis. The law was effective immediately upon signing by the governor, although medical cannabis will not become available in the state for months. The latest of the Southern states to legalize marijuana, these legal changes bring new processes to the scope of law for both attorneys and clients in Mississippi.  

The Mississippi Medical Cannabis Act

Known as the Mississippi Cannabis Act, the law permits the use of medical cannabis to treat certain debilitating medical conditions including cancer, Parkinson’s disease Huntington’s disease, muscular dystrophy, HIV/AIDs, hepatitis, ALS, Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, sickle-cell anemia, Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, post-traumatic stress disorder, autism, cachexia or wasting syndrome, chronic pain, severe or intractable nausea, seizures, severe and persistent muscle spasms, among others. 

The new law will allow patients to buy up to 3.5 grams of cannabis per day, up to six days a week or about 3 ounces per month. It also sets taxes on production and sale of cannabis and specifies that plants must be grown indoors under controlled conditions. Available products will include cannabis flower, cannabis extracts, edible cannabis products, beverages, topical products, ointments, oils, tinctures, and suppositories. 

The Mississippi Medical Cannabis Act delegates oversight of the licensing and tax program to the Mississippi Department of Health (MDOH) and Mississippi Department of Revenue (MDOR). The MDOH is specifically responsible for: 

  • Licensing, oversight, and inspection of cannabis testing facilities and cannabis research facilities; 
  • Licensing of cannabis cultivation facilities, cannabis processing facilities, cannabis transportation entities, and cannabis disposal entities; 
  • The application and licensing of registry identification cards for qualifying patients and designated caregivers; 
  • Registering practitioners; 
  • Selection, certification, and oversight of the statewide seed-to-sale tracking system. 

The MDOR is responsible for: 

  • Licensing, inspection, and oversight of medical cannabis dispensaries
  • Collecting excise tax on cannabis cultivation facilities 

There is no statutory cap on the number of licenses that can be issued, and the DOH and DOR will jointly create and maintain a public registry of medical cannabis establishments. Mississippi cities and counties have 90 days to opt out of allowing medical marijuana facilities for growing and selling. 

Civil Rights, Expungements, and Legal MMJ in the South 

Employees receive little protection from the adoption of the law according to the state. The law contains favorable provisions for employers who are not required to permit or accommodate the medical use of medical cannabis, or to modify any job or working condition to any employee who engages in the medical use of cannabis. Employers are not prohibited from refusing to hire, discharge, discipline, or take adverse action against an individual with respect to hiring, tenure, and other conditions of employment. Drug testing policy is not prohibited by employers, nor does it permit an individual to undertake any legal action against an employer for refusing to hire or take an adverse action against an employee. 

Current expungement law requires individuals to wait five years after completing their sentence, probation, or paying fines and fees before petitioning for expungement. As the courts define what it means to be rehabilitated and eligible for expungement under The Mississippi Medical Cannabis Act, a law that no longer identifies the need for rehabilitation, attorneys are still unsure where a hearing will be required. 

Other Legal Restrictions 

Certain restrictions and regulations remain for patients, caregivers, and minors in the state of Mississippi. 

  • Patients or caretakers are forbidden from growing their own cannabis. 
  • Use of cannabis in a motor vehicle or in public is forbidden.  
  • Minors only qualify with their parent or guardian’s consent and control of administration and dosage. 
  • Patients under 21 cannot enter a dispensary without their parents or guardians. 
  • The bill does not require insurance or state plans to cover medical cannabis. 
  • The bill appears to allow landlords to ban tenants from using medical cannabis at home. 
  • Cardholders and medical cannabis establishment staffers who divert cannabis can have their ID cards revoked, in addition to facing felony penalties. 

Wilson Law Firm | Personal Injury and Criminal Defense Attorney | Mississippi Gulf Coast  | Dallas, Texas 

If you think you have been wrongfully charged with a possession charge or qualify for an expungement, contact Wilson Law Firm today. The best possession attorney is one with years of experience under their belt. At Wilson Law Firm, we bring 25 years of experience to the table. Whether you’re facing marijuana charges or trafficking felony, let us help you get the justice you deserve. Reach out for a free consultation today.