Mississippi medical cannabis sales on track to begin in January

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Medical cannabis is on track to be on Mississippi dispensary shelves in January 2023, state health officials said, though barely 400 patients are currently approved to access MMJ.

During a media briefing last week, Mississippi officials said the state Department of Revenue and the Department of Health had issued provisional licenses to 138 dispensaries, 47 cultivators, eight processors, four transportation entities, three state-mandated “disposal companies,” two testing labs and 491 work permits (people certified as legally cleared to work in cannabis).

Those businesses will serve, at this point, 406 state-approved patients, who received certification from 117 health care professionals licensed to enroll patients in the program.

That might seem like a tiny start in a state with a population of nearly 3 million where sales are expected to reach $265 million in the first year and $800 million by the fourth year, according to the 2022 MJBiz Factbook.

The fourth state in the South to legalize medical cannabis after Arkansas, Alabama, and Louisiana, Mississippi has taken one of the more tortured paths to legal marijuana seen in the United States.

Sixty-nine percent of the state’s voters approved medical cannabis in November 2020, only for the state Supreme Court to invalidate not only the voter-approved cannabis ballot measure but the state’s voter-initiative process altogether.

In January of this year, the state Legislature approved a compromise, the Mississippi Medical Cannabis Act, which Republican Gov. Tate Reeves signed into law in February.