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28 cities have given up medical marijuana

28 cities have given up medical marijuana

Editor’s note: The full list of cities and counties that have declined to participate is at the bottom of this story.

At least 28 cities and a dozen counties have completely abandoned the medical marijuana program in Mississippi by the May 3 deadline, but the state health department does not keep an official list of all municipalities restricting cannabis business.

It is also unclear whether the Department of Revenue, another government agency responsible for managing and overseeing the program, has any official list of local governments unwilling to participate. At the time of publication, the agency did not respond to a request for comment.

Both agencies will soon be accepting applications to administer licenses for the long-awaited state medical marijuana program.

The Mississippi Department of Health has an optional form of inspection for municipalities on its website, but an MSDH statement said “local authorities have no right to tell us they are refusing.” The department also said it did not have an exhaustive list.

As a result, the most complete list showing which areas refused to participate in the program was compiled by the Mississippi Cannabis Trade Association, a group of entrepreneurs and lawyers. Their list shows that cities around Jackson and the Delta County have decided not to allow the opening of outpatient, cultivation and production facilities in their areas.

Ken Newburger, director of the Mississippi Medical Marijuana Association, said the law itself does not include a directive that municipalities must report. At the same time, the lack of an official list at the moment should not force anyone to try to bypass the system when it comes time to apply, he said.

“If you try to open an outpatient clinic in a city that has given up on it, local officials have every authority: 1. Stop you and 2. Report you to the state,” Newburger said.

Within a week of the deadline, there was some confusion. Flowood, for example, voted to abandon all three categories, the law allows cities to have a voice: distribution, cultivation and processing of products. However, some felt that the city had to take part because it would have an installation for testing.

But testing facilities are not one of the categories that can be monitored by municipalities – so the status of medical marijuana in the city will not affect the testing that is planned to open there.

READ MORE: As Mississippi cities give up medical marijuana, businessmen are closing down

Each county’s decision to opt out only applies to unincorporated territories, which means that some cities in counties that have refused to participate in the program may still have businesses in the program. Patients living in denial zones can still own and take medical marijuana.

The trade association is working with lawyers and entrepreneurs in areas of denial to sign petitions that could trigger early elections on the issue. Local governments that have refused to participate also have the opportunity to return at any time.

However, those who did not give up before the May 3 deadline do not have the flexibility.

Starting in June, the Department of Health says it plans to begin accepting online applications for licenses for patients, practitioners, cultivators, recycling facilities, testing facilities, waste disposal companies and transportation companies.

The Revenue Department is responsible for licensing dispensaries and will begin accepting applications in July. The agency now has waiver forms that allow potential businesses to obtain permission from schools or churches to work if they are less than 1,000 feet but no closer than 500 feet.

Without failure the dispensary must be at least 1,000 feet. The law also does not allow outpatient clinics to be within 1,500 feet of each other.

READ MORE: New medical marijuana law attracts millions of investment in Mississippi

A spokesman for the trade association, Melvin Robinson III, said that so far the initial stages of the program and its rules are unfolding as expected.

“Everyone is excited as the date approaches,” Robinson said.

Given the interest, Robinson said he would not be surprised if licensing agencies remained in the applications. He expects their websites to be flooded as soon as they start accepting online applications this summer.

Newberger said the Department of Health is using a portal for applications that has been used and tested in other states. He also waited for the hype of applying.

“Not everyone who applies will get it,” he said.

The Department of Health said it plans a 30-day period for approving licenses for businesses and doctors and a five-day period for patients.

Cities that have abandoned outpatient clinics and cultivation / treatment

  • Cupids
  • Belmont
  • Brandon
  • Bunville
  • Caledonia
  • Carolton
  • Clinton
  • D’Iberville
  • Ecru
  • Flora
  • Gluckstadt
  • Greenwood
  • Lake Rog
  • Kilmichael
  • Lucedale
  • Madison
  • New Albany
  • Knoxpater
  • Convert to the Christian
  • Pikayune
  • Topolville
  • Pantotak
  • Ridgeland
  • Southhaven
  • Sumrall
  • Silence
  • Weiden

Cities that do not allow outpatient clinics but allow cultivation and recycling

Districts that have abandoned outpatient clinics and cultivation / treatment (applies to unincorporated areas only)

  • Carol County
  • George County
  • Leflor County
  • Lincoln County
  • Newton County
  • Neshobsky district
  • Pearl River County
  • Pontic County
  • Tippa County
  • Uniate floor
  • Choktau County
  • Lauderdale County

Districts where dispensaries are prohibited but cultivation / processing is permitted (applies only to unincorporated areas)

  • Jones County
  • Madison County

Clarification 5/11/22: This story has been updated to show that Madison County has abandoned dispensaries, but allows cultivation.

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