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On November 3, 2020, 74% of voters in Mississippi moved to adopt Initiative 65. The measure was placed on the ballot to expedite the launch of a medical marijuana program. Qualifying patients in Mississippi will have access to medical cannabis in 2021.
The acceptance of Initiative 65 means that the state of Mississippi has two deadlines. To launch Mississippi’s medical marijuana program, the final legislation or laws will be completed by July 1, 2021. Mississippi will begin issuing medical cannabis cards to qualified patients by August 2021.
The Initiative 65 legislation outlines twenty-two (22) qualifying health conditions. Patients must have a formal diagnosis of at least one qualifying health condition to apply for a Mississippi medical marijuana card.
Compared to the initial qualifying health conditions provided by other states, Mississippi has adopted a list of health conditions that are robust and inclusive.
Some patients may be diagnosed with a rare disease not included on the list of qualifying health conditions. As an extension of compassionate care for patients, Initiative 65 provides essential legal accommodation.
If a patient is suffering from chronic pain or a degenerative disease, a primary care physician (PCP) can recommend the individual for the Mississippi medical marijuana program. It is up to the doctor’s discretion to determine that medical cannabis’s benefits outweigh any risk of use for the patient. Suppose you do not have one of the qualifying health conditions provided by the Mississippi Department of Health. In that case, you still may be eligible to register for access to doctor-supervised cannabis treatments.
The Mississippi State Department of Health is required by law to issue medical ID cards and licenses for medical marijuana treatment centers (MMTCs) by August 15, 2021. It is anticipated that medical cannabis products may not be available for purchase until October of 2021 or later that year.
Currently, Initiative 65 does not outline that a medical health evaluation is required. However, it is the primary care provider (PCP) who has a known relationship with the patient that will be providing the referral and health check.
Initiative 65 does indicate that state-licensed physicians will be required in the application and registration process. However, other healthcare providers, such as Nurse Practitioners, will not be permitted to refer to the medical cannabis program. Before July 1, 2021, this legal provision may change when the final draft of the Mississippi medical marijuana legislation is provided.
Initiative 65 currently requires an in-person visit with a physician. That means the new medical marijuana program in Mississippi will not allow telemedicine evaluations. That may also be amended in final drafts of the legislation. Some patients with chronic diseases are immune-compromised and susceptible to viral or bacterial infections. Telemedicine appointments may be legalized as a temporary measure during the Covid-19 health emergency.
The fee for a patient application to the Mississippi medical marijuana program (provided by Initiative 65) will be fifty dollars ($50). Replacement of a lost card will cost patients twenty-five ($25) dollars.
As more information becomes available for the Mississippi medical marijuana program, we will update patients on this page. Watch our blog for news and insights about the changing medical marijuana laws in Mississippi.