Mississippi Medical Marijuana
[The future of this program remains uncertain after the Mississippi Supreme Court ruled against the validity of the ballot measure that legalized medical marijuana in the state.]
Medical marijuana was legalized in Mississippi after residents voted to approve the citizen-drafted Initiative 65 at the November 2020 election. The ballot measure garnered 67.9 percent of the vote, and was preferred to the more restrictive Initiative 65A proposal drafted by Mississippi lawmakers, which would have prohibited smokable forms of marijuana except for terminally ill patients. Initiative 65 sets no restrictions on the forms in which cannabis can be sold nor on how it must be consumed.
The voter-approved measure legalizes the use of up to two and a half ounces of cannabis by registered patients with a qualifying condition from a state-licensed ‘marijuana treatment center’ every 14 days. Patients are not permitted to grow their own cannabis plants at home and Initiative 65 does not obligate health insurance companies to provide coverage for medical marijuana treatments.
Medical marijuana dispensaries are not yet operational in Mississippi. The Mississippi State Department of Health, however, must issue business licenses and patient ID cards by August 15, 2021, and it must establish the rules and regulations for Mississippi’s medical marijuana program by July 1, 2021.
Medical marijuana can be recommended for any of the following medical conditions:
- Acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS) or human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)
- Agitation of dementias
- Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis
- Autism with aggressive or self-injurious behaviors
- Chronic or debilitating pain
- Crohn’s disease
- Epilepsy or other seizures
- Huntington’s disease
- Intractable nausea
- Multiple sclerosis
- Muscular dystrophy
- Pain refractory to appropriate opioid management
- Parkinson’s disease
- Post-traumatic stress disorder
- Ulcerative colitis
- Severe muscle spasticity
- Sickle-cell anemia
- Spinal cord disease or severe injury
- Or another medical condition of the same kind or class to those herein enumerated and for which a physician believes the benefits of using medical marijuana would reasonably outweigh potential health risks.
How to Apply For a Medical Marijuana Card in Florida
While the specific rules and regulations to apply to become a medical marijuana patient in Mississippi are yet to be fully established, the broad outline is as follows. First, you must get certified by undergoing an in-person consultation with a physician. Once the doctor determines you have one or more of the qualifying conditions eligible for medical marijuana treatment (or believes the treatment would be beneficial for another comparable condition), you will be issued with a physician’s certificate valid for up to 12 months that you then present to the Mississippi Department of Health. It will then review your application and issue a medical marijuana ID card that you can then use at a state licensed medical marijuana treatment center.
Initiative 65 allows for designated caregivers to apply for a medical marijuana card and make purchases at a medical marijuana treatment center on behalf of a qualifying patient. The approved measure sets a “reasonable fee” of $50 for the issuance of a medical marijuana card.
The renewal requirements for medical marijuana cards in Mississippi are yet to be established.