MSDH proposes changes to medical marijuana regulations

Published: Dec. 29, 2022 at 7:40 PM CST
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JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - Parts of Mississippi’s medical marijuana program are up and running. But patients haven’t been able to access any products yet.

A public comment period just ended at noon last Friday with the Mississippi Department of Health. They’re proposed tweaks to the regulations for everything from growers to patients and everything in between.

No products have been sold yet. And the rules are still changing. Some like Kelly Williams at Kelly’s Green expected that.

“We didn’t feel blindsided by anything,” said CEO and Founder of Kelly’s Green, Kelly Williams. “We felt like that, for the most part, the majority of the regulations were or the proposed regulations were cleaning up things, adding a little bit maybe clarification on some definitions and terms. "

While other growers like Zack Wilson at Good Flower Farms don’t agree with the changes.

“The health department keeps moving the goalposts as we get closer and closer and closer,” noted Wilson.

Advocates are raising a red flag about a patient-related regulation, in particular.

“The most glaring one to me would be the new section stating that a qualifying patient must attend a follow-up visit with the same practitioner, that patient originally visited,” said Melvin Robinson with Mississippi Cannabis Trade Association. “That might be an issue for people with access to transportation, or they might have gone somewhere else and wanting to change and practitioner or those kinds of things.”

“I just think it’s an extreme overreach that they would not allow a patient to seek out another medical professional in their neighborhood,” said patient advocate Bethany Hill. “So, we believe that’s just one way that it’s impacting the program and keeping patients away. It’s definitely overreaching for sure.”

Another proposed change would keep companies from posting photos or videos like this of the plants or products on social media or websites.

“I can’t think of anything else in the retail market that you’re not allowed to look at before you buy,” explained Wilson. “You know, a lot of people are wanting to be educated on this on this medication. And without being able to show the processes of how it’s made, you’re really hindering your patient and your cultivators.”

Still, Kelly Williams thinks the changes are par for the course.

“We did expect it,” noted Williams. “And the reason is not because of anything other than if you look at the other states, some of the states that have a regulated program have done that. I think it’s naïve not to expect regulatory changes coming with such a brand new program.”

We reached out to the Department of Health to get information on the timeline for approving these proposed changes but they didn’t have anyone available for comment.

To read all of the proposed regulation changes, click HERE.

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