By Alyssa Schnugg
A public hearing to discuss the opt-out provision in Mississippi Medical Cannabis Act will occur Monday evening during the Lafayette County Board of Supervisors’ regular meeting.
The hearing will be held at 5 p.m. Monday at the Lafayette County Chancery Building.
The recently passed Medical Marijuana program gives cities and counties 90 days to opt-out of allowing medical marijuana facilities for growing or selling, known as dispensaries.
If the Board votes to opt-out, it prevents the dispensaries from opening in the county; however, patients who hold cards issued by a physician to use marijuana for medical purposes can still possess it. They would; however, have to drive out of the county to receive their medical marijuana.
In the 2020 election, 67 percent of Lafayette County voters voted in favor of the medical marijuana program.
If the county votes to opt-out, residents can file a petition with 1,500 signatures to put the matter on a ballot for a special election within 60 days of the Board’s vote to opt-out. The county would absorb all costs associated with the special election.
Gov. Tate Reeves signed the Mississippi Medical Cannabis Act into law on Feb. 2.
The law permits the use of medical marijuana to treat certain debilitating medical conditions including cancer, Parkinson’s disease, Huntington’s disease, muscular dystrophy, HIV/AIDS, hepatitis, ALS, Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, sickle-cell anemia, Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, post-traumatic stress disorder, autism, cachexia or wasting syndrome, chronic pain, severe or intractable nausea, seizures, severe and persistent muscle spasms, among others.
The new law will allow patients to buy up to 3.5 grams of cannabis per day, up to six days a week, which is about 3 ounces per month. It sets taxes on the production and sale of marijuana, and it specifies that plants must be grown indoors under controlled conditions.
Once the Mississippi State Department of Health begins the application process in June, there will be a 30-day approval time for licensure applications and a five-day approval time for program patients.