Now that Mississippi has legalized medical cannabis, legislators aren’t wasting any time planning out the program’s launch window.
Officials at the Mississippi State Department of Health stated that they are already hard at work in the planning process, and hope to get the program up and running by late summer of 2021. “We have been researching this project over the last several months, and intend to meet the aggressive timeframe of Aug. 15, 2021,” the department wrote in a tweet on November 5.
While medical cannabis has been legalized in the state by voters through Initiative 65, election commissioners must wait 10 days to certify all votes have been cast and counted. “And then they will send them to the Secretary of State’s Office (and there are) 30 days from Election Day to announce the election result,” Jamie Grantham of Medical Marijuana 2020 told WAPT. “The very next step is that the Department of Health sets rules and regulations for the program.” After that point, the initiative will officially become part of the constitution, allowing dispensaries to open, once approved by the Department of Health.
For a budding industry, more framework must be established before officials can begin to think about legal medical cannabis sales. The Mississippi State Department of Health will have to come up with various rules and regulations one month before things are predicted to open, in July of 2021. “We ask for your patience as we develop the necessary plans to go forward late next summer,” the department stated on Twitter. Health Department officials plan to keep interested patients up to date with the program’s progress.
The recently passed Initiative 65 received more than 228,000 signatures in a preliminary petition that circulated in 2018 and 2019. It will allow patients to use medical cannabis if they have a qualifying condition, such as ALS, cancer, epilepsy, HIV, Parkinson’s disease or sickle-cell anemia.