Laws and practices for using medical marijuana in Mississippi

It’s been just over a year since Mississippi legalized medical marijuana.

Mississippi residents still have questions about the medical marijuana law and how it translates into enforceable practices.

Let’s break down the basics.

Which conditions qualify for medical marijuana use?

The Mississippi Medical Cannabis Program lists the following as qualifying conditions:

  • cancer
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Huntington’s disease
  • muscular dystrophy
  • glaucoma
  • spastic quadriplegia
  • positive status for human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)
  • acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS)
  • hepatitis
  • amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS)
  • Crohn’s disease
  • ulcerative colitis
  • sickle-cell anemia
  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • agitation of dementia
  • post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • autism
  • pain refractory to appropriate opioid management
  • diabetic/peripheral neuropathy
  • spinal cord disease or severe injury

Also qualifying is a chronic terminal or debilitating disease or medical condition or its treatment that produces one or more of the following:

  • cachexia or wasting syndrome
  • chronic pain
  • severe or intractable nausea
  • seizures
  • severe and persistent muscle spasms including, but not limited to, those characteristic of multiple sclerosis

Additional rules apply for minors, caregivers, nonresidents and people 18 to 25 years old. High school athletes also face challenges.

How do you apply for a Mississippi medical marijuana card?

“All applications will be submitted online. The Mississippi Medical Cannabis Act requires that patients be certified by a registered practitioner in order to participate in the medical cannabis program,” said Kris Jones, director of the Medical Cannabis Program at the health department.

The health department created a portal where people with qualifying conditions can register. Create a username and set up a password before completing the application. The registration information transfers directly to the application and the username and password are needed to reach the application.

Every application requires written certification from a registered health practitioner with whom you have an established relationship.

Where can medical cannabis be purchased?

Dozens of Mississippi cities and counties opted out of the program. Residents who live in those counties are still allowed to purchase and use products, but have longer to drive to get them.

In places that opted in, medical dispensaries sell the products. The Department of Revenue created a searchable list of businesses with permits to sell medical marijuana. At the start of the year, the list included 32 local businesses.

The list includes product growers under the business type cultivator facility. Places to purchase are listed as dispensaries.

How much medical marijuana can people with qualifying conditions purchase at a time?

Three ounces a month, 3.5 grams per day

Voters approved an initiative that would’ve allowed people with qualifying conditions to buy up to 5 ounces per month in November 2020.

By the time legislators approved the medical marijuana bill, the legal limit was changed to 3.5 grams of cannabis per day for up to six days a week, or about 3 ounces a month.

What are MMCEU’s?

The state has its own term for understanding legal limits of medical marijuana in different forms. A Mississippi resident cardholder cannot have more than 24 MMCEUs of medical cannabis a month. An MMCEU is defined as “Mississippi Medical Cannabis Equivalency Unit.” One MMCEU is the same as 3.5 grams of cannabis flower, 1 gram of cannabis concentrate, or 100 milligrams of THC-infused product, according to the HAT Law Firm.

What types of products or forms of cannabis are allowed?

Smoke-able, tincture, edible, topical, and other forms of products are available for patients with cards.

Mississippi has THC potency caps. “In raw flower, THC can be no more than 30%. In extracted materials, tinctures, vape cartridges, edibles, etc., THC can be no more than 60%,” said Ken Newburger, executive director for the Mississippi Medical Marijuana Association. “All products, from seed to sale, must be grown, manufactured, tested, and tracked in Mississippi.”

How much does it cost?

The MSDH will charge application fees for practitioners and most patients. Here’s what it will cost you:

  • Registry Identification card: $25

  • Designated caregiver registry identification card: $25

  • Designated caregiver criminal background check: $37

  • Renewal or replacement fee for cards: $25

  • Nonresident card: $75

  • Qualifying patient registry identification card application for a Medicaid participant: $15

  • Fee for renewal of a Medicaid participant’s card: $15

  • Application fee for a qualifying patient registry identification card for disabled veterans or disabled first responders: Free (waived)

Can your Mississippi employer fire you for a failed drug test, even if you’re prescribed medical cannabis?

Anyone prescribed medical cannabis should be aware that Mississippi is an “at will” state, allowing employers to fire you with or without a cause. Employers are also not required to cover medical cannabis.

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Mona Moore is the Service Journalism Desk Editor for the (Biloxi) Sun Herald, (Columbus) Ledger-Enquirer and (Macon) Telegraph. Originally from West Covina, California, she holds a bachelor’s and master’s in corporate and public communication from the University of South Alabama. Mona’s writing and photography have been recognized by press associations in Mississippi, North Carolina and Florida. She is on a mission to complete 50 fun adventures before her birthday in October and would welcome any suggestions to add to her list.

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