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Mississippi medical cannabis industry to launch July 1

Mississippi medical cannabis industry to launch July 1

Mississippi medical cannabis legalization

After months of lengthy legal battles, legislation effectively legalizing cannabis for medicinal use in Mississippi will become law on July 1, 2022. The Mississippi Department of Revenue will be running the licensing process.

The agency has said that it will begin accepting applications for dispensaries starting July 5. Patients and medical practitioners will be able to begin applying for applications and registrations on July 1, along with some cannabis production licenses. These licenses specifically will be handled by the Mississippi Department of Health (MSDOH).

Both agencies’ responsibilities stem from the Mississippi Medical Cannabis Act (MMCA), which was passed in February of this year. Medical cannabis legalization was delayed by nearly a year in the state after a voter initiative to legalize, Initiative 65, was overturned by the Mississippi Supreme Court in May of 2021.

Now patients with conditions covered under the MMCA can go to their physician and complete a medical certification from the MSDOH. If approved, patients will be able to apply to join the medical cannabis program. Once accepted they will receive patient ID they can use to purchase cannabis from a licensed dispensary.

While patients may be accepted as early as next month, plants won’t go in the ground in Mississippi until the bill is officially law, i.e. July 1. With dispensary applications being accepted starting July 5, it will certainly be several months before we see any dispensaries open with cannabis product on their shelves.

Estimates claim that purchasing could begin by December this year, or January 2023.

For those seeking a license, the state plans to hand them out within 30 days of receiving a completed application, meaning dispensary construction could begin within the next two months. The state is also accepting applications for a variety of other medical cannabis industry licenses:

  • Cultivator/Grower

  • Processor/Wholesaler

  • Transporter (local freight)

  • Transporter (long distance)

  • Testing Facility

  • Waste Disposal

Cannabis industry could be worth over $90 billion by 2026

Cannabis industry could be worth over $90 billion by 2026

cannabis industry market projects

When states began legalizing cannabis for recreational use following Colorado in 2012, the trend looked promising. Multiple states followed suit in the years to come, and as of 2022, 19 states and the District of Columbia have legalized cannabis for recreational use.

In addition to adult-use cannabis, the majority of the country now has some form of medical cannabis laws on the books. The rapid growth of the industry has turned initial predictions for the industry’s revenue on their heads.

In 2017, those with insights into the industry and a pulse on the growth of the legal cannabis market predicted that the industry could bring in as much as $25 billion in revenue by 2025. A recent analysis by MarketsandMarkets found that cannabis industry revenue surpassed $20 billion in 2020. It also predicts that legal cannabis markets could be worth over $90 billion by 2026.

In other words, the industry has triple the growth potential as originally thought. This is a positive sign for those wanting to see the industry grow. It also shows the increasing acceptance of cannabis as a recreational product, and the changing perceptions surrounding cannabis consumers.

Concentrates are the main product sector that is seeing the most growth since 2020, and has the most projected growth through 2026. This includes edibles, tinctures, vape pens, cannabis extracts and other concentrated products.

What may come as a surprise is the finding that medical cannabis dominated the majority of cannabis revenue since 2020. However it does appear that the conductors of the analysis included CBD as a medical cannabis product.

CBD has exploded in popularity as a legal “health supplement” after the 2018 Farm Bill legalized hemp, i.e. cannabis with a THC percentage below .3%. Opposed to medical cannabis which requires a patient’s license and purchasing from a licensed dispensary, CBD can be obtained from a smoke shop or gas station in some cases.

Not to take away from the success of medical cannabis states, Oklahoma was the highest grossing cannabis market in the country in 2021, despite only having a medical cannabis program.

Overall, future growth of cannabis markets will be mostly seen in North America as Canadian and US markets continue to grow. Other factors such as an increase in recognition of medical benefits of cannabis and growing consumer demand for cannabis in disease management and treatment due to high health care costs are expected to drive the growth in the North American region.

As for hemp markets, the industry is projected to hit roughly $25 billion by 2025. The hemp industry was worth over $4.5 billion in 2019, just one year after hemp was federally legalized.

What to know about Oklahoma cannabis legislation changes

What to know about Oklahoma cannabis legislation changes

Oklahoma cannabis legislation passes

The 2022 legislative session has ended in Oklahoma, bringing with it over a dozen new pieces of legislation specifically impacting the medical cannabis industry.

OMMA Executive Director Adria Berry sent an email to cannabis business owners this week with details on the new legislation, while also thanking businesses for their cooperation and transitioning to Metrc. Metrc is a seed to sale track and trace system specifically designed for the cannabis industry.

While chosen to be implemented in September of 2020, it wasn’t until May 26, this year that the state finally forced the transition.

“Through the struggles and bumps in the road, we’ve taken your feedback, questions, comments and complaints directly to Metrc every single time. Some answers are quick and easy, others take days to solve. At the end of the day, I want you to know that we are working on every issue you’ve brought us and will not let problems go unsolved.” said Berry.

In addition to the implementation of Metrc, Oklahoma’s governor also signed thirteen separate cannabis-related bills into law this week. The laws still must go through a rulemaking process in which regulations are formed. The public will be allowed input in this process.

House Bill 2179: Creates a tiered commercial grower fee structure based on size and type of facility — annual fees would range from the current $2,500 to more than $50,000. Under the terms of the bill, processor license fees will be determined by volume and range from $2,500 to $40,000. Dispensaries will pay $2,500 to $10,000, based on annual sales. Testing laboratories will pay a flat $20,000. Effective June 1, 2023.

House Bill 3019: Adjusts packaging standards to allow clear packaging for edibles but requires opaque exit packaging for carrying out of the dispensary. Effective Nov. 1, 2022.

House Bill 3208: Places a moratorium on new business licenses between Aug. 1, 2022, and Aug. 1, 2024. The legislation itself takes effect July 1, 2022. OMMA will incorporate the legislation into new emergency rules that will take effect in July before the moratorium begins Aug. 1, 2022. Current grower, dispensary and processor licenses are not included in the moratorium. OMMA will accept new grower, dispensary and processor applications through 11:59 p.m. Aug. 1, 2022. Read more about HB 3208.

House Bill 3530: Creates a revolving fund to be used by OMMA to establish programs and provide funding to support county sheriff enforcement of medical marijuana laws and regulations. Effective immediately.

House Bill 3929: By Jan. 1, 2024, OMMA must promulgate rules to create a process validation program in which licensees may voluntarily participate. Effective immediately.

House Bill 3971: By Jan. 1, 2024, OMMA must create a “secret shopper” program by rule promulgation to purchase medical marijuana in dispensaries and send samples for testing. Effective January 1, 2024.

House Bill 4056: After receiving recommendations from QA lab and a committee of licensed labs, OMMA must promulgate rules by Jan. 1, 2024, that set out required equipment and standards to be used by all licensed labs. Effective immediately.

Senate Bill 1367: Enhances penalties for the unlawful diversion of medical marijuana products to someone not legally allowed to acquire or consume them. Effective Nov. 1, 2022.

Senate Bill 1511: Prohibits commercial grow operations within 1,000 feet of a school. The legislation makes an exception for established businesses. SB 1511 is already in effect — it was effective immediately when Gov. Kevin Stitt signed it in March.

Senate Bill 1543: Establishes OMMA as an independent state agency separate from the state Department of Health. Effective Nov. 1, 2022. Read more about SB 1543 on our website.

Senate Bill 1704: Requires all employees of medical marijuana businesses to apply for a badge/credential beginning Jan. 1, 2024, and allows OMMA to contract with a third party to provide those services. Effective Nov. 1, 2022.

Senate Bill 1726: Adds technology centers primarily used for classroom instruction to the list of school buildings that dispensaries and grows must be at least 1,000 feet away from. Effective immediately.

Senate Bill 1737: Outdoor growers must register as a sensitive crop, and all commercial growers must post signage at the perimeter of the property with specific information. Effective Nov. 1, 2022.

 
North Carolina Medical Cannabis Bill Passes Senate

North Carolina Medical Cannabis Bill Passes Senate

North Carolina medical cannabis legalization

A North Carolina medical cannabis bill was passed by the state Senate last week following its clearing of a key Senate committee just one day prior. The legislation passed the full chamber with a 35-10 vote.

Sponsor of the bill, Sen. Bill Rabon (R) is hopeful that the bill will help those seeking relief toward the end of their life.

“This bill is going to, in my opinion, help a lot of people at the end of their life at a time that they need some compassion,” Rabon said on the floor ahead of the vote.

Rabon is a cancer survivor himself. He believes that medical cannabis can help people “at a time that what few days, or what little time they have left, should be as comfortable and as easy as they can be.”

“I think it is our duty as lawmakers to pass legislation that helps people who need our help,” Rabon said.

However the medical cannabis bill is not in the clear yet. It still must pass through one final vote on the third reading of the bill. If it passes again it will then move on to the House of Representatives.

The NC Compassionate Care Act in its current state would enact a highly restricted medical cannabis program. Those that qualify for the program must have a condition such as cancer, epilepsy, HIV/AIDS, Parkinson’s, multiple sclerosis and PTSD to be eligible.

Patients would be permitted to possess up to one and half ounces of cannabis, but home growing would not be allowed. Edibles or “cannabis-infused” products would be allowed in various forms, and smoking and vaping would be permitted.

However the consumption method must be prescribed by a doctor for specific delivery and dosages. Patient eligibility would be reconsidered on an annual basis.

The bill would permit just 10 medical cannabis suppliers who would control the cultivation and sale of cannabis. Each operator would be permitted four dispensaries for 40 total across the state.

Under the current revision, a Compassionate Use Advisory Board would be established. This board would have the ability to add more qualifying conditions for the program that could make access easier for more patients in the future.

Additionally a Medical Cannabis Production Commission would be created to ensure that supply does not run out for patients. The Commission would also oversee licensing and generate revenue to regulate the medical cannabis program.

Lastly the bill will provide protections for patients. Employees and agents of the state would be required to treat possession of cannabis for qualified patients the same as any other prescribed controlled substance.

There are still additional amendments under consideration that may impact the third reading of the bill. Over 80% of North Carolina voters support medical cannabis, with 60% supporting full recreational legalization.

OMMA halting cannabis business applications until 2024

OMMA halting cannabis business applications until 2024

oklahoma medical marijuana authority not accepting applications

In an effort to contain the massive medical cannabis marketplace in Oklahoma, the OMMA has said it will stop processing applications for new growers, processors and retailers for up to two years.

HB 3208 includes a moratorium beginning on Aug. 1, 2022 in which OMMA will halt all application considerations. It is set to end on Aug. 1, 2024.

“All of our current grower, dispensary and processor licensees who stay in compliance with our rules should know HB 3208 doesn’t change anything for them – owners of current licenses will still be able to apply for renewal when it’s time,” said OMMA Executive Director Adria Berry. “OMMA stands ready to implement HB 3208 by incorporating it into our rules during the rulemaking process, fulfilling the regulatory duties entrusted in us by Gov. Stitt, the Legislature and every Oklahoman.”

Current growers, processors and retailers will not be impacted by this change, and OMMA will still accept applications until 11:59 PM on Aug. 1. However any operator that allows their license to expire after the moratorium begins will not be able to reapply for a new license.

Oklahoma cannabis legalization may be on November ballot

Oklahoma cannabis legalization may be on November ballot

Oklahoma cannabis legalization petition getting signatures

The Oklahoma Supreme Court has approved plans for Oklahoma cannabis legalization to move forward in the state. The plan’s organizers can now begin collecting signatures.

There are currently two separate proposals for Oklahoma cannabis legalization, and both would need to gather enough signatures to end up on the ballot this November.

The approved plans, State Question 819 and State Question 818, would make an amendment to the state’s Constitution to protect the right of residents age 21 and older to use cannabis.

SQ 818, known as the Oklahoma Medical Marijuana Enforcement and Anti-Corruption Act, would expand the state’s medical cannabis program. It would establish a new state agency known as the Oklahoma State Cannabis Commission (OSCC).

This agency would replace the current Oklahoma Medical Marijuana Authority (OMMA) and oversee the entire cannabis industry including hemp.

This bill replaces the excise tax on medical cannabis with a 7% retail tax. Revenue would be used to support cannabis research, rural impact and urban waste remediation, agriculture development, mental health response programs, substance misuse treatment and more.

SQ 819, otherwise known as the Oklahoma Marijuana Regulation and Right to Use Act, would legalize possession of up to eight ounces of cannabis for anyone over the age of 21.

Adults could purchase cannabis from a retail store, or grow up to 12 plants for personal use. Any home grower is legally allowed to possess however much they harvest from their 12 plants.

Recreational cannabis sales would be taxed at 15%. A number of state initiatives would receive a portion of the tax funds collected from Oklahoma cannabis legalization. These include water-related infrastructure, disability assistance, substance misuse treatment, law enforcement training, cannabis research and more.

Lastly, SQ 819 would open up pathways for resentencing and expungements for those with prior and current cannabis convictions.

If passed, Oklahoma would become the 19th state in the US to legalize cannabis recreationally. In order to make it onto the ballot, supporters are going to need to gather about 178,000 signatures in the next 90 days.

Despite being on of the reddest states in the country, Oklahoma cannabis legalization isn’t a very far fetched idea for the state. In fact, nearly 10% of Oklahoma’s 4 million residents have qualified a medical cannabis card, the highest in the country.

“Whether we’ll get on the November ballot this year remains to be seen,” said Jed Green, a longtime Oklahoma cannabis activist behind the plans. “We’re going to push, push and push to get it done, and hopefully we do, but … we’ll get our signatures.”

A separate adult-use proposal, State Question 820, already has been cleared by the high court and because it would only amend state statute, requires only about 95,000 signatures. Supporters of that plan can begin gathering signatures on May 3.