By Alyssa Schnugg
Public Service Commissioner for the Northern District Brandon Presley released a statement Thursday in regard to recent comments from TVA claiming they could not provide electricity to medical marijuana facilities.
Presley said the Tennessee Valley Authority is supplying power to local utility companies, like Oxford Utilities and North East Mississippi Electric Power Association, and should not be concerned about which business receives power from those local providers.
TVA is one of the main suppliers of wholesale electricity in north Mississippi. Earlier this week, TVA made a statement that said since it is a federally owned utility company it cannot provide power to a licensed medical marijuana facility due to possible conflicts with federal law.
“Given this important point, TVA will not direct any federal resources or funds to the cultivation and/or distribution of marijuana,” stated TVA in a statement on Feb. 2.
Presley said TVA’s statement has already caused damage to north Mississippi by forcing some medical marijuana facilities to look at other areas of the state and possibly denying north Mississippian the benefits of the newly-passed Medical Marijuana Program that was signed into law by Gov. Tate Reeves last week.
“It is a long-held principle in state law that electric utilities have an obligation to serve customers without discrimination,” Presley said. “A licensed medical marijuana facility under Mississippi law is no different.”
Presley said that any licensed medical marijuana facility should be served with electricity upon application and request.
“Once power is delivered by the TVA to a local utility, TVA’s oversight ends and controlling state law and Public Service Commission statutes ensure that these facilities should be served with electricity like any other licensed business,” Presley said in his statement.
Read his full statement below: