Last week, Mississippi became the 37th U.S. state to legalize the use of medical marijuana. Gov. Tate Reeves signed the bill into law stating that it would provide medical marijuana to individuals who “could do significantly better” with prescribed doses. According to the National Conference of State Legislatures (“NCSL”), the state joins 36 states and territories including Puerto Rico, the District of Columbia, the Virgin Islands and Guam, where the use of medical marijuana is legal.
The Republican governor mentioned through a statement that a recreational program would not only lead to an increase in users but also reduce performance and bring about societal ills.
This new legislation will see patients diagnosed with AIDS, cancer, autism, Parkinson’s disease, Crohn’s disease and more become eligible to buy medical marijuana with a card. The card will be obtained from the state’s Department of Health after an in-person examination from a qualified health-care worker.
The law will allow patients to receive at most six units per week and 24 units in 30 days. The law describes one unit as either 100mg of THC in an infused product, 3.5g of medical cannabis or 1g of medical cannabis concentrate. Employers, landlords and schools cannot discriminate against card holders under the law. Moreover, it restricts dispensaries from being situated within 1,000 feet of any churches, schools or child-care facilities without a waiver.
The law specifies that plants must be cultivated indoors under restrictive conditions. Taxes have been set on cannabis production and sales while also denying the state the ability to provide any incentive for economic development to cannabis businesses. The legislation will allow counties and cities to opt out in allowing any facilities from growing or selling medical marijuana.
An earlier drafted bill had set the purchase limit to 28 grams each month. However, it was struck down in November 2020 by Mississippi’s Supreme Court. Reeves has described the legislation as being imperfect. However, he sees that its restrictiveness will reduce the number of marijuana blunts in the streets by “hundreds of millions.”
One of the groups that pushed for marijuana’s legalization is the Mississippi Medical Marijuana Association. The association’s executive director, Ken Newburger, said that the laws would improve the quality of life of individuals who would gain the benefits of medical cannabis.
The bill has been tracked down by NORML, which has said that it was long overdue. Jax James, the organization’s state policies manager, says that the law had received overwhelming support from voters over the years. He says that for the last 14 months the people’s wish has been denied.
The signing of this bill into law is likely to trigger a flurry of new economic activity, including the attraction of new and existing marijuana companies such as Red White & Bloom Brands Inc. (CSE: RWB) (OTCQX: RWBYF) that are working to meet the growing needs of patients in Mississippi.
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