JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) – Months after state lawmakers authorized a medical marijuana program, more than 400 patients have been given permission to use it.
The Mississippi State Department of Health (MSDH) held a press conference Thursday to discuss progress in setting up the state’s medical cannabis program, including the number of provisional licenses it has granted.
“[I’m] very pleased at the fairly rapid process of getting licenses issued at every level,” said State Health Officer Dr. Dan Edney. “But to get all the pieces in place has been an amazing job, and I’m quite proud of our team, especially Kris, with her leadership.”
Kris is Kris Jones Adcock, the director of the state’s medical cannabis program. To date, provisional licenses have been issued to 47 cultivators, including both micro and major cultivators, 8 processors, 138 dispensaries, and 117 practitioners. Additionally, 491 people have been granted work permits, making them eligible for employment in the field, while another 406 people have been authorized as patients, making them eligible to use the substance.
Adcock says patients across the state likely will be able to begin purchasing cannabis through dispensaries late this year or early next year.
Provisional permits also have been granted for three disposal entities and two testing facilities. Testing facilities, according to MSDH’s website, analyze cannabis and cannabis products, for, among other things, safety and potency.
Currently, all licenses are being issued for an initial provisional period for four months. Provisional licensure was not included in the original statute, but was added during the regulatory process, Adcock explained.
“While we are in the provisional period, we are conducting pop-up inspections [and] compliance visits. We also are receiving complaints from the public [that] we respond to,” Adcock explained. “Every pop up visit we have had so far has been an opportunity for education.”
Several questions were asked about Mockingbird during the Thursday presser. MSDH said the company had to destroy around 5,000 plants, or about $1 million in product.
“Nothing [has gone] without a blemish,” Adcock said. “We do have questions. We do have compliance issues. We work through those compliance issues… Those on-site visits give us [the] opportunity to do that.”
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