The Magnolia State’s medical marijuana program officially began as the Mississippi Department of Health began accepting applications, reports the Clarion Ledger.
Applications are now being accepted for patient ID cards, cultivation, processing, transportation, disposal, research testing, and doctor certification. Businesses and people wanting to apply for work permits can do so.
However, the Mississippi Department of Revenue will not begin accepting applications for dispensaries until July. A 30-day lag time exists between application windows because there can be no dispensaries without product.
Delay Because Doctors Also Registered Wednesday
Getting the market up and started first was a priority for the state. All applications are digital at the Mississippi Department of Health website.
There is one caveat in the process. Those wanting to apply for a patient ID card must first be certified by a doctor. But Wednesday was also first day a doctor can apply for certification with the state.
The physician also has to register with the Mississippi Department of Health. To certify a patient, doctors have to complete eight hours of medical mariuana continuing education through the Department of Health online system.
Therefore, completed patient applications have to wait, because physicians’ applications must be completed first.
Physician’s Authorization Licenses Could Take Up To 30 Days
It can take up to 30 days for a physician’s license to be approved to authorize medical marijuana, reports Fox 13 Memphis.
Doctors’ certification to authorize medical marijuana requires an eight-hour online class from the Mississippi Health Department. After doctors are certified, patients need a visit with the physician to get their authorization for Cannabis use.
Patients then have to go back online and submit that information to the state. They must wait up to five days for approval.
Patients will also have to provide medical records proving they qualify. Individuals qualify for a card if they suffer from one of the two dozen debilitating diseases the medical marijuana program covers.
Communities Had Until May 3 To Opt Out
Unlike neighboring programs in Louisiana and Arkansas, Mississippi’s program does not cap the number of Cannabis business licenses. It includes a tiered licensing fee structure, allowing smaller businesses to participate in the program for lower fees.
Under the law, communities had until May 3 to decide whether they wanted certain medical marijuana businesses to operate in their jurisdictions. The provision explicitly targets dispensaries, cultivators and processing facilities.
City and county leaders can opt back in at any time under the law. Residents also can request a special election to decide to opt back in.
Medicine Available October? November? December?
Zack Wilson is building a grow facility and a dispensary in Marshall County. He applied for a cultivation license Wednesday, but can’t apply to open a dispensary until July 1.
Wilson was leader of a grassroots organization to legalize medical marijuana in Mississippi. He said it would likely be months before he can start selling to patients.
“It would be possible for us to open the first of October if the state stays on a normal timeline. I am expecting November, maybe December,” Wilson said.