Mississippi Lawmakers Move to Implement Medical Cannabis Legislation

After months of negotiating, lawmakers in Mississippi reached a deal this week to implement a new medical marijuana law in the state.

Mississippi Today reported that “legislative negotiators and leaders have agreed on a draft of medical marijuana legislation,” and that they are “anticipated to ask Governor Tate Reeves as early as Friday to call the Legislature into special session.”

The approach to Reeves could be significant, as the report noted that the first term Republican governor “has sole authority to call lawmakers into special session, and would set the date and parameters of a special session.”

“Although legislative leaders have expressed interest in dealing with COVID-19 and other issues in a special session, Reeves has appeared unwilling but said he would call a session for medical marijuana, pending lawmakers are in agreement and he agrees with the measure,” the report said. 

In May, Reeves said that a special session to address medical marijuana was “certainly a possibility.” 

For medical cannabis advocates and would-be patients of the treatment, the legislative wrangling has been a long, and at times frustrating, process.

Nearly 70 percent of Mississippi voters approved a ballot initiative last year that legalized medical marijuana for a host of qualifying conditions including cancer, epilepsy or other seizures, Parkinson’s disease, Huntington’s disease, muscular dystrophy, multiple sclerosis, cachexia (weakness and wasting due to chronic illness), post-traumatic stress disorder, HIV+, AIDS, chronic or debilitating pain, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or ALS, glaucoma, agitation from dementia, Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, sickle-cell anemia and autism. 

Under Initiative 65, qualifying patients could legally possess up to 2.5 ounces of cannabis.

But the new law hit a major snag in May, when the state’s Supreme Court struck down Initiative 65 citing a strange and obscure provision in the state’s constitution. In the 6-3 ruling, the majority justices “ held the initiative had to be struck down because of an odd flaw in the state constitution’s voter initiative process,” NBC News reported at the time. 

“Passed in the 1990s, the measure called for a percentage of signatures to come from each of the state’s five congressional districts to get on the ballot,” NBC reported. “But, the judges noted, the state lost one of those congressional districts thanks to the 2000 U.S. Census, and now only has four districts.”

After that ruling, lawmakers in Mississippi went back to the drawing board to create a new medical marijuana program to supplant Initiative 65. 

Negotiations ran through the summer, with state lawmakers and other agencies hearing testimony from both advocates and opponents to medical cannabis. 

The breakthrough finally arrived on Thursday. Mississippi Today reported that some legislative leaders “released some details of the proposal—which had been kept close to the vest for months—such as that cities and counties will be allowed to ‘opt out’ of having medical marijuana cultivation or dispensaries, although local voters can override this.”

“City councils or aldermen, or county boards of supervisors, within 90 days of passage of legislation, could opt out from allowing cultivation or dispensing of medical marijuana within their borders,” the report explained. Voters in those cities and counties could force a referendum to rejoin the medical marijuana program if they gathered 1,500 signatures or 20 percent of the voters, according to the report.

Other notable provisions in the draft proposal include that smokable cannabis would be permitted, and that the state’s sales tax of seven percent would be imposed on medical marijuana. But the lawmakers have closed the door on personal cultivation, with Mississippi Today reporting that “outdoor growing would not be allowed, nor home growing.”

The post Mississippi Lawmakers Move to Implement Medical Cannabis Legislation appeared first on High Times.

State by State Cannabis Legislation – What’s Legal Now and Where?

Throughout the country, cannabis regulations are changing every day. Some areas are experiencing more dramatic legislative upgrades than others, but every little step forward still counts. At the moment, there are 5 states that come to mind because, one, they are making big moves, or two, they are conservative states that most people were expecting would hold on to prohibition for much longer.

This week we’re focusing on the East Coast and Deep South, with updates from Connecticut, Tennessee, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama. To learn more about cannabis legislation, make sure to subscribe to The CBD Flowers Weekly Newsletter, where you will get all the latest news as well as access to exclusive deals on flowers and other products.


Connecticut

Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont (D), along with other state lawmakers, just reached a compromise on an adult-use cannabis bill that will likely be implemented in late spring of 2022. The bill would finally lay the groundwork for retail sales to launch in the state. According to estimates from MJBizDaily, the Connecticut recreational market could exceed $250 million in sales in just the first year, and reach a total of roughly $725 million by the fourth year.

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Senate Bill 1118 has only just been drafted, however, and it still needs to a pass votes in both the House of Representatives and Senate. Opponents may still try to interfere, which could result in Gov. Lamont calling a special session on the issue this summer. It’s hard to say whether that will also delay the launch of recreational sales or not.

One of the major points in this agreement is offering priority licensing status to social equity applicants. According to the bill text, to qualify as a social equity applicant, the individual will need to have spent the last five out of ten years living in a “disproportionately impacted area, as defined by a jobless rate above 10% or a historically high drug conviction rate. Municipalities would be limited to one marijuana retailer and one micro-cultivator per 25,000 residents until July 1, 2024.”

Tennessee

Tennessee is a relatively conservative state, but the influx of new residents from blue states along the east and west coasts might be having an impact already. Last month, Republican Governor Bill Lee passed a limited medical cannabis bill that would lead to many changes in the way businesses operate within the state.

Once implemented, the bill will legalize possession of CBD oil containing up to 0.9 percent THC for approved medical patients. This is three times higher than the federal government’s cutoff of 0.3 percent. Additionally, the enacted bill would expand on the current list of qualifying conditions by adding the following diseases and disorders: Alzheimer’s disease, ALS, cancer, inflammatory bowel syndrome, multiple sclerosis, HIV/AIDS and sickle cell disease.

People would need to keep proof of their medical conditions with them at any time they are in possession of the cannabis oil. Additionally, there is still nowhere to legally purchase these products in the state. So, although it will be legal to possess now, it will have to be obtained illegally or out of state. Further legislation will be needed to regulate the manufacture and distribution of cannabis products.

Louisiana                    

Louisiana’s medical cannabis program has faced harsh criticism from industry advocates for making it nearly impossible for patients to access product. Over regulation combined with high prices, limited cultivation licenses (only 2 issued statewide) meant that patients numbers were extremely low, and as such, so were profits.

However, the program should see a major jump in registration starting next year, when House Bill 391 is enacted and dispensaries will be permitted to sell smokable flower. In many established markets, flower accounts for roughly 50 percent of total sales and recent surveys show the demand for smokables is high in Louisiana.

As is standard, patients will have a purchasing limit, although it will fairly lenient allowing up to 2.5 ounces (70 grams) every 14 days. Qualifying conditions include cancer, positive status for HIV, AIDS, cachexia or wasting syndrome, seizure disorders, epilepsy, spasticity, Crohn’s disease, muscular dystrophy, multiple sclerosis, glaucoma, Parkinson’s disease, severe muscle spasms, intractable pain, post traumatic disorder, and some symptoms associated with autism spectrum disorder.

Cannabis Legislation – Alabama

Last month, Governor Kay Ivey officially signed into law the medical marijuana bill that we’ve been tracking, making Alabama the 37th state in the U.S. to legalize medical cannabis. Patients with qualifying health conditions – which include cancer, depression, epilepsy, panic disorder, chronic pain, or any chronic illness – will be permitted to register for the state’s medical program.

After signing Senate Bill 46, Gov. Ivey released this statement: “Signing SB 46 is an important first step. I would like to again thank Sen. Tim Melson and Rep. Mike Ball for their hard work over the last few years and their willingness to address the legitimate concerns. This is certainly a sensitive and emotional issue and something that is continually being studied.”

“On the state level,” he added, “we have had a study group that has looked closely at this issue, and I am interested in the potential good medical cannabis can have for those with chronic illnesses or what it can do to improve the quality of life of those in their final days.”

Mississippi

Interestingly, Mississippi is really where it all began, considering that University of Mississippi won the very first grant to cultivate and study medical cannabis back in 1968. Despite that, the laws for consumers have been less than progressive until recently.

Last week, Senate lawmakers discussed the potential of medical cannabis legalization within the state, but unless Governor Tate Reeves (R) calls a special session. It still seems promising that changes will happen before the end of the year, with Reeves telling Biloxi TV station WLOX that it is “imperative that a medical marijuana law be passed to support the will of the voters.”

The initiate is business friendly but also gives some power to municipalities should they want to utilize zoning restrictions to opt of medical cannabis programs. There is also some opposition to the proposed purchasing limits of 2.5 ounces every 14 days, which some conservatives say is “too generous” and should be lowered.

Cannabis Legislation – Final Thoughts

Progressive legislation has also been moving forward in states which have already legalized or decriminalized cannabis, such as Nevada and New Mexico. There have also been notable changes in some of the nation’s strictest states, like Wyoming, Texas, Idaho and Kansas. For more updates, make sure to subscribe to The CBD Flowers Weekly Newsletter, for all the latest news as well as access to exclusive deals on flowers and other products.

The post State by State Cannabis Legislation – What’s Legal Now and Where? appeared first on CBD Testers.

Thursday March 11, 2021 Headlines | Marijuana Today Daily News

Marijuana Today Daily Headlines
Thursday, March 11, 2021 | Curated by host Shea Gunther

// Mexico’s Chamber Of Deputies Approves Revised Marijuana Legalization Bill (Marijuana Moment)

// Noem’s medical marijuana plan scuttled by Senate (Sioux City Journal)

// Mississippi House Kills Alternate Medical Marijuana Proposal But Senate Makes Late Attempt To Revive It (Marijuana Moment)


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// Garland’s confirmation as AG could change Feds’ marijuana views (Marijuana Business Daily)

// Aurora Cannabis Still Wants More Money Files To Offer $1 Billion In Securities (Green Market Report)

// Acreage Holdings Reports $286 Million Net Loss in 2020 (Green Market Report)

// The Green Organic Dutchman Reports $183 Million Net Loss For 2020 (Green Market Report)

// Detroit overwhelmed by applicants for recreational marijuana shop licenses (Detroit News)

// As Green Thumb opens its first California cannabis store CEO says ‘This is a long-term game’ (CNBC)

// Tennessee Republican wants to permanently block recreational marijuana through state constitution (Tennessean)

Check out our other projects:Marijuana Today— Our flagship title, a weekly podcast examining the world of marijuana business and activism with some of the smartest people in the industry and movement. • Marijuana Media Connect— A service that connects industry insiders in the legal marijuana industry with journalists, bloggers, and writers in need of expert sources for their stories.

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Tuesday, February 16, 2021 Headlines | Marijuana Today Daily News

Marijuana Today Daily Headlines
Tuesday, February 16, 2021 | Curated by host Shea Gunther

// New Mexico adult-use marijuana bill advanced by state House panel (Marijuana Business Daily)

// South Dakota AG abandons effort to defend adult-use marijuana initiative (Marijuana Business Daily)

// Washington Lawmakers Approve Drug Decriminalization Bill In Committee Vote (Marijuana Moment)


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// New York Governor To Send Amended Marijuana Legalization Plan To Lawmakers Amid Criticism (Marijuana Moment)

// Massachusetts medical cannabis patient numbers top 100,000 (Marijuana Business Daily)

// Michigan’s marijuana industry surpasses Oregon in cannabis jobs report says (Michigan Live)

// Recreational pot sales have more than doubled since Maine’s market launch (Central Maine)

// Mississippi Senate Approves Alternate Medical Marijuana Program Hours After Defeating It (Marijuana Moment)

// Canopy unloads British Columbia cannabis greenhouses at large loss (Marijuana Business Daily)

// Cannabis spurs creative but unrealistic ideas study shows (Marijuana Business Daily)

Check out our other projects:Marijuana Today— Our flagship title, a weekly podcast examining the world of marijuana business and activism with some of the smartest people in the industry and movement. • Marijuana Media Connect— A service that connects industry insiders in the legal marijuana industry with journalists, bloggers, and writers in need of expert sources for their stories.

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