History is being made due to the first medical marijuana sold in Mississippi. The first patient to make the sale was Debbie McDermott. She purchased the product at the Cannabis Company in Brookhaven.
Read on to find out more about the transaction and what this means for the state moving forward.
First Medical Marijuana Sold in Mississippi: The Transaction
Ms. McDermott was responsible for the first medical marijuana sold in Mississippi. She claims the product helps her deal with chronic pain and “some other issues”.
The sale occurred on Wednesday, Jan. 25. The transaction took about 2 1/2 hours to complete. Officials believe the delay was due to an issue with the company’s point of sale system. They use METRC software which tracks cannabis seed to sale.
“I hate it for the patients more than anything,” said store owner Mitch Parker. “We have people in here who have been waiting for this medicine, you know, and have been for so long.”
Earlier the same day, Mockingbird Cannabis in River Remedy, a boutique medical cannabis company in Byram, began distributing marijuana to dispensaries around the state. Mockingbird Cannabis in Raymond supplies marijuana to the Cannabis Company.
Other Cannabis Transactions in Mississippi
While the sale at the Cannabis Company goes down in history as the first medical marijuana sold in Mississippi, there were other sales happening the same day. For example, medical cannabis was also sold Wednesday at Hybrid Relief and Starbuds in Oxford.
“We’ve been working since 2018 to get medical marijuana in the hands of patients in Mississippi, and it’s surreal to see it finally coming to fruition,” said Kevin Newberger, executive director of the Mississippi Medical Marijuana Association.
“This is only the beginning. More and more businesses will be harvesting, testing, and getting their products on the shelves in the coming months; therefore, more patients will have access to this medicine at certified businesses all across the state.”
How the Process Works
Now that first medical marijuana sold in Mississippi, patients may be wondering how the process works.
Patients must visit a physician, nurse practitioner or optometrist participating in the state’s medical cannabis program to determine if they have a qualifying condition. If they do, they must register for medical cannabis use with the state’s cannabis program.
The patient must apply to the Medical Cannabis Program online within 60 days of medical certification. They will receive an electronic card which can be used to buy cannabis at a dispensary.
Once approved, they will be permitted to purchase 3.5 grams of weed each day, six days a week. That works out to about 3 ounces a month.
Legislation Regarding First Medical Marijuana Sold In Mississippi
Mississippi governor Tate Reeves signed a bill that legalized medical marijuana in the state of Mississippi almost a year ago. The program is administered by the Mississippi Department of Health. Cities and counties were given the option to opt out.
The medical marijuana initiative was approved by voters in 2020. The state Supreme Court later overturned the initiative stating that the process was outdated. However, laws moved forward making the first medical marijuana sold in Mississippi possible.
Mississippi Health Department Struggles to Manage Massive Medical Marijuana Program
The first medical marijuana sold in Mississippi spells good news for patients. But behind closed doors, the state’s eight-person medical cannabis office is struggling to keep up. They are dealing with disorganization as agents are rarely visiting cultivation sites, applications are backlogging by the hundreds, communication is lagging, and licenses are pending for weeks at a time.
Business owners are worried that the money they paid to get their licenses could go up in smoke.
“The state threw themselves to the wolves,” said cultivator Joel Harper. “They should have paid the money to bring in professionals, even a third-party consultant. Instead they’re sending people out into the cannabis world who have no idea about anything cannabis.”
Cultivators have countless questions for the understaffed office regarding how the state’s cannabis program will work. They find that they rarely hear back, and when they do, the answers they are getting are incomplete or inconsistent.
As of the second week of January, 277 work permits were sitting in the queue waiting to be processed. 995 patients were waiting to hear whether they’d be approved for their dispensary cards. Three dozen businesses and 40 medical practitioners had their records stuck.
The office recently hired new workers taking their staff from four to eight. But the workers were not well trained. They are working on filling 25 new positions in the coming months.
Issues Being Faced
There are many issues being faced regarding the first medical marijuana sold in Mississippi and the committee’s failure to be prepared for what’s ahead.
First off, the office’s former director Kris Jones Adcock has been overwhelmed. At one point, she was holding three jobs simultaneously working as the head of the domestic violence office, the assistant senior deputy, and in the cannabis office role. This led to rushed processes and absentee leadership.
Adcock now solely works as the assistant senior deputy and has called on Laura Goodson to take over her role as the acting director at the cannabis office.
There are also many questions that aren’t being answered regarding cultivation. As of now, outdoor growing is illegal. Many cultivators are using greenhouses, but the regulations regarding how the greenhouses must be constructed is unclear.
Onsite visits are required for a license renewal, but many agents are slacking on this task. This is further slowing down the process.
Meetings have been held proposing changes that will make processes smoother. However, the powers that be are holding back on making rushed decisions.
It’s great that the first medical marijuana sold in Mississippi. Hopefully legislation will catch up quickly. This will allow people and businesses to get the assistance they so desperately need.