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2023 Changes to Mississippi's Medical Cannabis Act

As the 37th state to legalize the medical use of cannabis, the state of Mississippi has continuously modified and refined the Mississippi Medical Cannabis Act (MMCA) to better serve its residents. Among these changes, the most significant modifications were made this year, ensuring a more accessible, efficient, and regulated medical cannabis program.


A Review of the Medical Cannabis Program in Mississippi


Enacted under the jurisdiction of the Mississippi Department of Health (MDH), the Medical Cannabis Program in the Magnolia State is intended to provide relief to qualified patients suffering from debilitating medical conditions. As defined by the act, these include but are not limited to conditions like chronic pain, spastic quadriplegia, sickle-cell anemia, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), muscular dystrophy, Crohn’s disease, and ulcerative colitis.


This program allows medical practitioners to provide written certification for the use of medical marijuana, ultimately empowering patients to gain access to necessary treatments. The medical use of cannabis products, under the close supervision of a qualified practitioner, is a cornerstone of this progressive program.


legal update and transcribing notes

Among the updated medical marijuana laws, one notable rule demands a standard symbol on edible cannabis product labeling and packaging, effective July 1, 2023. Additionally, the maximum quantity for testing medical cannabis in a single batch has been increased from 10 to 25 pounds. More importantly, the new regulations introduce a significant set of amendments to the testing rules.


All medical marijuana companies should adopt a rigorous policy of regularly reviewing the official Mississippi Medical Cannabis Program website (https://www.mmcp.ms.gov/) for the latest medical marijuana laws to stay in compliance.

Highlighted Updates on Medical Marijuana Cultivation Regulations

  1. The definition of “batch” has been increased to 25 pounds from the previous 10 pounds.

  2. New definitions introduced for "biosecurity measures," "indoor cannabis cultivation," "plant waste," "permanent," and "secure."

  3. A process has been added to allow a licensee to seek a "variance," which permits the licensee to seek exemptions from specific regulations.

  4. Medical marijuana facilities must verify the implementation of biosecurity measures before beginning operations.

  5. Revised rules require all records to be maintained onsite or electronically for MDOH review.

  6. No individual can reside at the same address or property where a cannabis establishment is located.

Important Changes in Mississippi Medical Marijuana Testing Facility Regulations

  1. Definition of "batch" expanded to 25 pounds from the initial 10 pounds.

  2. Introduction of new technical definitions, including "inclusivity," "limit of quantitation," "matrix spike sample," "proficiency test," and "process lot."

  3. New rules regarding testing of "cannabis-infused products."

  4. Introduction of revised minimum requirements for potency testing.

Key Changes to Mississippi Medical Marijuana Registry/ID Cards

  1. Removal of proof of residency requirements for qualifying patient ID cards and registered caregiver ID cards.

Major Changes to Mississippi Medical Marijuana Advertising and Marketing Regulations

  1. Restrictions placed on the use of cannabis images, limiting their use to "patient education."

Significant Changes to Mississippi Medical Marijuana Processing Regulations

  1. Introduction of a "variance" process, granting the licensee permission to deviate from certain regulations.

  2. Employees must be registered into the state's seed-to-sale tracking system within seven days of their start dates.

  3. New symbol requirements for labeling and packaging of all edible cannabis products effective July 1, 2023.

Critical Changes to Mississippi Medical Marijuana Transportation Regulations

  1. Introduction of a "variance" process for transportation entity licensees.

  2. Transportation entity must register employee information in the seed-to-sale tracking system within seven days of employee start dates.

Key Updates on Mississippi Medical Marijuana Disposal Regulations

  1. Operation plans must include direct video surveillance for the disposal of plant waste and cannabis waste.

  2. A "variance" process has been added, allowing a disposal entity licensee to seek permission to bypass certain regulations.

The updated Mississippi medical marijuana regulations are extensive and multifaceted, impacting various aspects of cultivation, processing, testing, and disposal. It's crucial for all entities involved in the Mississippi medical cannabis industry to understand and comply with these updated rules.


The Role of Medical Cannabis Establishments

Medical Cannabis Establishments (MCEs) play a critical role in the medical cannabis program. These establishments, overseen by the Mississippi State Department of Health, include cannabis cultivation facilities, medical cannabis dispensaries, and cannabis testing facilities.

As integral components of the medical marijuana program, MCEs ensure the distribution of quality-controlled cannabis products. Medical cannabis use in Mississippi is a carefully regulated process, from cultivation to distribution, with MCEs providing the infrastructure needed to meet the state's stringent requirements.


Patient's Rights and Protections

Under the updated law, an employer cannot take adverse employment action against an employee solely for their status as a medical cannabis cardholder. This provision safeguards the rights of employees, reinforcing the State Supreme Court's stance on legal protections for medical cannabis use.

Similarly, the law outlines protections against the denial of custody rights to parents who are registered medical cannabis patients, as long as their conduct does not endanger the child.


It's also worth noting that possessing or using medical cannabis in a motor vehicle, school, or public place remains illegal, emphasizing the act's focus on responsible and regulated use of medical marijuana.


How to Become a Qualified Patient


To become a qualified patient under the MMCA, residents must first receive a diagnosis of a qualifying medical condition from a medical professional registered with the MDH. The practitioner then provides a written certification for the medical use of cannabis.

Following this, patients or their legal guardians can apply for a registry identification card from the MDH. Once approved, cardholders can purchase medical cannabis products from licensed medical marijuana dispensaries.


The Impact of the Medical Cannabis Act


This evolving legislation has received immense support from Mississippi voters, medical professionals, and organizations like the Mississippi Medical Marijuana Association. Social media platforms have witnessed an overflow of testimonials from residents who report improved quality of life since the legalization of medical cannabis use.


Research into the benefits of medical cannabis is ongoing, with contributions from esteemed institutions like the University of Mississippi Medical Center and the National Center for Natural Products Research. The result is an emerging consensus that medical cannabis can play a crucial role in alleviating symptoms of severe injury and illness.


Looking to the Future


While Mississippi currently operates solely a medical marijuana program, other states' experiences suggest the potential for growth and further development, including the possible evolution into a recreational marijuana program.


The most recent changes to the Mississippi Medical Cannabis Act reflect the state's commitment to continuously refine and improve this landmark legislation, with the ultimate aim of better serving the medical needs of its residents.


ARCannabisClinic: Your Trusted Health Technology Partner


For those seeking guidance on navigating these new laws and the process of obtaining medical cannabis, ARCannabisClinic is a trusted partner. As a national leader in medical marijuana health technology, ARCannabisClinic is committed to helping patients gain access to medical marijuana in a safe, legal, and efficient manner.

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