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How To Open a Dispensary In Mississippi

 

On January 13th 2022 Mississippi’s Senate overwhelmingly approved a new bill to legalize medical marijuana within the state. This comes after the previous session with Initiative 65 failing to gain traction in 2021. The Senate bill is currently at the governor's desk for signing. This article will teach you how to open a dispensary in Mississippi, and what it will take to open a cannabis business within the state.

 

How much does it cost to open a cannabis dispensary in Mississippi?

Mississippi in its current bill is requiring:

•  A non-refundable licensing fee of $15,000

•  A annual license fee of $25,000

If you are interested in opening a dispensary in Mississippi contact us for more information regarding fees and associated startup costs.

When can I apply for cannabis business in Mississippi

Mississippi Department of Health has issued a statement that they will start accepting applications beginning in June 2022. They have also stated that there will be a 30 day window for applications to be accepted.

Medical-Use Cannabis in Mississippi

Cannabis in Mississippi will be regulated by the Mississippi Department of Health (MDOH) and Mississippi Department of Revenue (MDOR). Allowing for individuals, once the state has its licensing process, to get cannabis from dispensaries for debilitating conditions such as: Cancer, Parkinson's disease, Huntington's disease, muscular dystrophy, glaucoma, spastic quadriplegia, positive status for human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS), hepatitis, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), Crohn's disease, ulcerative colitis, sickle-cell anemia, Alzheimer's disease, agitation of dementia, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), autism, pain refractory to appropriate opioid management, diabetic/peripheral neuropathy, spinal cord disease or any other condition the department of health specifies.

 

The MDOH will issue licenses for Cultivation, Processing, Transport, Disposal, and Research entities, while MDOR will issue dispensary licenses. It should also be noted that a section of bill SB2095 specifies transport within a vehicle must be in the trunk. It is a misdemeanor for cannabis to be transported within the cabin including the console and glove box.

 

Licensing Structure

Mississippi cannabis business licensing will be conducted on a tier system with the exception of some license types. The tier structure system includes:

Micro-cultivators

Tier 1: Application fee of $1,500 and annual fee of $2,000

Tier 2: Application fee of $2,500 and annual fee of $3,500

Cultivators

Tier 1:  Application fee of $5,000 and annual fee of $15,000

Tier 2:  Application fee of $10,000 and annual fee of $25,000

Tier 3:  Application fee of $20,000 and annual fee of $50,000

Tier 4:  Application fee of $30,000 and annual fee of $75,000

Tier 5:  Application fee of $40,000 and annual fee of $100,000

Tier 6:  Application fee of $60,000 and annual fee of $150,000

Micro-processors

Tier 1: Application fee of $2,000 and annual fee of $3,500

Tier 2: Application fee of $2,500 and annual fee of $150,000

 

Processors

Application fee of $2,500 and annual fee of $5,000

Medical Dispensary:

Application fee of $15,000 and annual fee of $25,000

Transporter:

Application fee of $5,000 and annual fee of $7,500

Disposal entity:

Application fee of $5,000 and annual fee of $7,500

Testing Facility:

Application fee of $10,000 and annual fee of $15,000

 

No individual can have direct or indirect ownership more than 10% in one cultivation license or one processing license. 5 is the  limit for medical cannabis dispensary licenses.

 

Cannabis banking in Mississippi

A provision within the bill for Mississippi allows for state banks to provide financial services to medical cannabis business license holders, however it does not say that the banks are required to do so. Allowing cannabis businesses to get any service that the bank offers.

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History

Mississippi is illegal for recreational and medical purposes, but use of low-THC/high-CBD products is allowed for severe seizure disorders under 2014 legislation. Possession of small amounts was decriminalized in 1978.  While possession of small amounts is indeed decriminalized, it is still a misdemeanor and only decriminalized in the sense that one will not be jailed for a first offense. Under the Mississippi Code of 1979, possession of less than 30 grams of marijuana is a misdemeanor, with the first offense punishable by jail time up to 90 days and a $250.00 fine.

 

However, probation is always given in lieu of a jail sentence following the 1978 decriminalization. One will likely be brought to jail when charged, but, at the discretion of the arresting officer, this can be avoided by both having acceptable identification and promising to appear in court to answer the charge. Subsequent offenses require a minimum 5 days in jail and graduating scale of fines. Possession of paraphernalia will result in up to 90 days in jail and a fine of up to $1,000.00.

 

Again, probation is given instead of the jail sentence, and since 1978 there has never been a person sentenced to jail time for possession of paraphernalia in Mississippi. Simultaneous possession of under 30 grams and paraphernalia is punishable only with a possession of marijuana charge. In practice, if found with under 30 grams of marijuana, it is common to receive a paraphernalia charge for the container it was in, instead of a possession charge. This is done to save the state from having to pay testing costs for the marijuana. Possession of between one and 30 grams kept in a vehicle is punishable up to a fine of $1,000 and up to 90 days in jail. This only applies to areas in the vehicle occupied by passengers and does not apply to a trunk. Additionally, any conviction will result in a 6 month suspension of driving privileges.

Possession of larger amounts are felonies, as is sale, cultivation and trafficking. For example, the sale of over 10 pounds of marijuana carries a life sentence without the possibility of parole. However, the penalty can be reduced if the person charged provides information on their supplier or other relevant persons to state authorities. Penalties for possession of hash and concentrates is more severe than for marijuana, with any amount greater than 0.1 grams a felony with mandatory sentencing on a graduating scale. First time possession of up to .1 grams can be punished as either a misdemeanor or a felony, at the discretion of the presiding judge. Possession of more than .1 gram but less than 2 grams carries a mandatory 2 years in jail. Trafficking any amount of hash or concentrates carries a mandatory 30 years in the state penitentiary. 

The Mississippi State Legislature passed House Concurrent Resolution 39 as a legislative alternative to the initiative, which will appear on the ballot as Alternative 65A. The vote was 72-49 in the House on March 10, and 34-17 in the Senate on March 12, 2020.

how to start a marijuana business mississippi

If you are just starting your marijuana business, the next best step is to start a Business Plan to help educate your team and be ready to apply for a marijuana business license. If you are ready to apply for a Marijuana Business License in Mississippi, please Contact us or call our offices to set an appointment to get started. You can also select another State Opportunity, or fill out our Contact Form to discuss potential strategies such as Investment or Partnership Opportunities. 

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