Mississippi Weed Laws
As an entrepreneur, you’re probably well aware of the legal cannabis industry and the potential opportunities it presents. But do you know what are the latest updates on the Mississippi Cannabis Laws? In this blog post, we’ll take a look at the weed laws in Mississippi and discuss the set of regulations from the state legislature that entrepreneurs must face in this market.
After Governor Reeves signed the recent legislation legalizing medical marijuana, the Mississippi Department of Revenue (MDOR) has 150 days to start the licensing process for cannabis businesses.
On February 2, 2022, the Senate bill was signed into law. MDOR is currently collaborating with the Mississippi Department of Health (MDOH) on the application process’ design and implementation. The ABC Permit Department will begin taking license applications no later than July 1, 2022, and will grant dispensary licenses to qualifying applicants within 30 days of receiving the completed application, which must include all relevant information and documentation. Counties and/or municipalities have 90 days to start voting to opt-out of the program.
If a business wants to apply for medical marijuana dispensary licensure through the Mississippi Department of Revenue’s Mississippi Medical Cannabis Program, the company should first register with the Mississippi Secretary of State’s Office.
Types of Mississippi Cannabis Establishment Licenses
According to the Mississippi Medical Cannabis Act (SB 2095), there would be nine types of permits, namely:
- Patient’s cards
- Medical Practitioners
- Cannabis Cultivation Facilities
- Cannabis Processing Facilities
- Cannabis Testing Facilities
- Cannabis Waste Disposal Entities
- Cannabis Transportation Entities
Mississippi Cannabis Licensing
The Mississippi Department of Revenue is in charge of medical marijuana licensure, regulation, and enforcement. The Mississippi Department of Revenue’s Alcoholic Beverage Control Enforcement Division will be the point of contact for licensing and regulating dispensaries. It will also be in charge of policing the medical cannabis law and rules regarding the purchase, sale, and distribution of medical marijuana at dispensaries.
The Mississippi Department of Health will be in charge of overseeing the state’s marijuana laws and medicinal cannabis program and will be in charge of licensing, regulating, and enforcing licensing rules.
- Individuals at least twenty-one (21) years of age
- Any owner, board member, officer, or anyone with an economic interest in the entity must be over the age of twenty-one (21) years of age
- Not currently serving as a member of the Mississippi Senate or House of Representatives or spouse of a member of the Mississippi Senate or House of Representatives through December 31, 2022
- Has not previously held a Cannabis-related license that has been revoked
- Has no outstanding tax liabilities owed to the State of Mississippi
- Has never been convicted of a disqualifying felony as defined by the Mississippi Medical Cannabis Act
General Cannabis Dispensary License Information
The Mississippi Medical Cannabis Act defines the medical marijuana dispensary as an entity licensed and registered with the MDOR that acquires, possesses, stores, transfers, sells supplies, or dispenses medical marijuana, equipment used for medical cannabis, or related supplies and educational materials to cardholders. A dispensary can only be in an area zoned commercial or in an area that is not otherwise prohibited from having commercial businesses by Mississippi medical marijuana law.
- First Year: $40,000
- Non-Refundable Application Fee: $15,000
- Annual License Fee: $25,000
- Yearly Renewal: $25,000
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Requirements for Dispensary Permit:
- Legal Name of Business and Physical Address
- Proof that the main entrance of the proposed location is not within 1,000 feet of the property boundary line of any school, church, or daycare (Distance Waiver form required if within 1,000 feet)
- No medical cannabis dispensary may be located within a 1,500 feet radius from the main point of entry of the dispensary to the main point of entry of another medical cannabis dispensary
- Proof that location meets county or city zoning / sworn statement certifying proposed location is compliant with said restrictions
- Proof of local license registration if required by the city or county in which the proposed premises is located
- List of all owners, partners, members, officers, board members, and anyone with an economic interest
- List of all professional licenses held by each member and proof that each is in good standing
- Summary Financial Statements for anyone with an economic interest of 10% or greater stake in the business
- Acknowledgment of Waiver and Authorization to Release Information
- Residence & Occupational History Form for each applicant
- Diagram of licensed premises
- Operations plan
- Security plan
Number of Licenses
So far, no license cap has been established. However, municipalities can choose to opt-out of the program.
There will be two taxes associated with the sale of medical marijuana. Applicants will be required to obtain applicable tax permits as part of the application process.
- Licensed cultivators will charge a 5% excise tax to licensed dispensaries at the time dispensaries purchase medical marijuana from the cultivator.
- Excise tax is due if the cultivator sells to a processing facility.
- Excise tax is due on the transfer of cannabis between related entities.
- Licensed dispensaries will charge the standard 7% sales tax to patients at the point of sale. Dispensaries will also be responsible for special tax levies in the city of Jackson & Tupelo.
For more information regarding Sales Tax, you can read more here.
All taxes collected must be remitted to the Mississippi Department of Revenue. Upon availability, you may register for a tax account at www.tap.dor.ms.gov.
Every potential employee of a medical marijuana facility must apply for, and be issued, a work permit prior to beginning work. This permit will be issued to the individual, not the facility, and does not have to be transferred should the individual change facilities. To be eligible to receive a permit:
- must be over the age of twenty-one (21);
- cannot have a disqualifying felony;
- must complete eight (8) hours of training; and
- complete five (5) hours of training thereafter on an annual basis.
|License Type||Canopy (sq. ft.)||One-time Application Fee||Annual License Fee|
|Micro-cultivator Tier 1||<1,000||$1,500||$2,000|
|Micro-cultivator Tier 2||1,000 – ≤2,000||$2,500||$3,500|
|Cultivator Tier 1||2,000 – ≤5,000||$5,000||$15,000|
|Cultivator Tier 2||5,000 – ≤15,000||$10,000||$25,000|
|Cultivator Tier 3||15,000 – ≤30,000||$20,000||$50,000|
|Cultivator Tier 4||30,000 – ≤60,000||$30,000||$75,000|
|Cultivator Tier 5||60,000 – ≤100,000||$40,000||$100,000|
|Cultivator Tier 6||100,000+||$60,000||$150,000|
|License Type||Dried biomass processed annually (lbs.)||One-time Application Fee||Annual License Fee|
|Micro-processor Tier 1||<2,000||$2,000||$3,500|
|Micro-processor Tier 2||2,000 –<3,000||$2,500||$5,000|
Other License Types:
|License Type||One-time Application Fee||Annual License Fee|
Qualifications for Licensure
- Residency requirements
- Until December 31, 2022, an individual applicant must have been a resident of Mississippi and a citizen of the United States for at least three years prior to the date of application.
- At least 35% of equity ownership interest must be held by individuals who have been residents of Mississippi and citizens of the United States for at least three years prior to the date of application.
- Until and after December 31, 2022, micro-cultivators and processors must be registered with an entity that has been a resident of Mississippi for at least the last three years, and 100% of the equity ownership interests in the entity must be held by individuals who have also been residents of the state for at least the past three years.
- Owner and investors’ requirements
- Every application requires the name of each principal officer and board member of the proposed medical cannabis establishment, as well as disclosure of all persons, entities, or affiliated entities who directly or indirectly own 10% or more of a medical marijuana establishment.
- Background checks are required of every prospective principal officer, board member, agent, volunteer, or employee before the person begins working for the cannabis establishment.
- Additional requirements or restrictions pertaining to ownership changes may be imposed in the forthcoming regulations.
- Marketplace requirements
- Medical cannabis establishments may only purchase, grow, cultivate, and use cannabis that is grown and cultivated in Mississippi and may not transport it outside of the state.
- No individual or entity may hold direct or indirect ownership or economic interest of greater than 10% in more than one cultivation facility license, one processing facility license; and five medical cannabis dispensaries.
- Local control
- Municipalities and counties may enact zoning restrictions and maintain their own licensing and permitting regimes, but they may not prohibit medical cannabis dispensaries.
- Product regulation
- Mississippi resident medical cannabis patients (“resident cardholders”) are subject to daily limits of medical cannabis use. The Act creates a measuring standard called the Mississippi Medical Cannabis Equivalency Unit (“MMCEU”) to establish those limits of medical use. One MMCEU is equivalent to three and one-half grams of medical cannabis flower, one gram of medical cannabis concentrate, or 100 milligrams of THC in an infused product.
- A resident cardholder may purchase no more than six MMCEUs in one week from any dispensary and no more than 24 MMCEUs within 30 days from any dispensary. The overall possession limit for resident cardholders is 28 MMCEUs in 30 days from any dispensary.
- The Act prohibits medical cannabis establishments from selling flowers with a potency exceeding 30% total THC.
- Banking regulations
- To facilitate access to banking for licensed medical cannabis establishments, the Act holds harmless under Mississippi legislature any bank that provides many services to any medical cannabis licensee in the state, if the bank provides those services to any other business. Banks may provide financial services to licensed medical cannabis establishments and invest any income from providing financial services to licensed medical cannabis establishments.
- Mississippi state legislature cannot protect banks from the risks under federal law associated with providing financial services to cannabis companies. But Mississippi’s approach is similar to the approach proposed by the federal SAFE Banking Act, which is pending in the U.S. Congress.
Penalties for illegal cannabis possession in Mississippi
Despite the federal government’s classification of cannabis as a Schedule I controlled substance, many states have legalized its use for medicinal purposes. Mississippi is one of these states, and it has set up a system for licensing medical cannabis users lawfully protected by the state’s supreme court and its congressional districts.
However, penalties for illegal cannabis use remain in place. Possession punishment of small amounts of cannabis may result in a fine of up to $250, while possession of larger amounts can lead to up to three years in prison. The sale or cultivation of cannabis is also an offense punishable by imprisonment.
These penalties reflect the state’s commitment to enforcing its cannabis laws, and they underscore the importance of obtaining a medical cannabis license if you wish to use cannabis for medicinal purposes.
If you are looking to get into the cannabis industry in Mississippi, it is important to understand the laws and regulations that are currently in place. Our team of experts can help you navigate these waters and ensure that your business is compliant with state law. Have you started researching the cannabis industry in Mississippi? What questions do you have? Let us know, we’re here to help.
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