How To Open A Dispensary In Mississippi

Overview

The Mississippi Legislature approved the Mississippi Medicinal Cannabis Act (SB 2095) on January 26th, 2022, restoring voters’ will by establishing a medical cannabis program. On February 2th, 2022, Gov. Tate Reeves (R) signed the measure into law, making the state the 37th in the US to do so.

As it pertains to Mississippi medical cannabis businesses,

  • A person or corporation may own no more than 10% of one processing license, one cultivation license, or four dispensaries.
  • Processors, cultivators, transporters, testing laboratories, disposal entities, and research facilities’ licensing will start within 120 days of the Act’s effective date.
  • Dispensary licensing will start within 150 days of the Act’s effective date.
  • There is no limit to the number of business licenses that may be issued.
  • Applications for licensing will be reviewed and approved within 30 days.

Mississippi is getting ready to accept business license applications starting in the summer of 2022. Agencies such as the Mississippi Department of Health and the Department of Revenue started crafting rules for the marketplace that will take effect soon.

The Opportunity Size

During its first year of sales, New Frontier Data estimates that Mississippi’s medical-use market will be worth more than $6 million. In its second year, the market will reach $21 million, almost double to $41 million in its third year, and almost triple to nearly $66 million in its fourth year.

Local Cannabis Restrictions & Laws

Are you looking to open a cannabis business in Mississippi? You must consider what is allowed in the town or municipality in which you intend on starting your marijuana business. Under the Mississippi Medical Cannabis Act, localities can determine hours, implement zoning laws, regulate the operations of medical cannabis businesses, and opt out by voter referendum. 

Local governments had until May 3 to make a decision on whether or not to allow medical cannabis businesses to operate inside their borders; ten counties and seventeen cities eventually declined to participate.

When the time comes for you to start a cannabis company in the state of Mississippi, the various regulations across the state may pose a challenge. The following section will be updated with any new information on local restrictions and challenges that come to light when the market opens up. 

Medical Marijuana

In November 2020, a medical marijuana proposal (Initiative 65) to legalize medical marijuana was passed by a majority of voters in the state of Mississippi. Six months later, the state’s Supreme Court nullified it, asserting that the state’s initiative procedure was outdated and unworkable.

As mentioned above, the Mississippi Medical Cannabis Act (SB 2095), an act to authorize medical cannabis use by qualified patients, was signed into law by Mississippi Governor Tate Reeves on February 2th, 2022. Patients may now purchase up to 3.5 grams of cannabis up to six days a week.

Patients who have been diagnosed with specific medical conditions or whose treatment qualifies for enrollment in the Mississippi Medical Cannabis Program may be eligible for medical cannabis. Qualifying conditions include Parkinson’s, Huntington’s, HIV, and AIDS. A complete list of conditions can be found here

Medical Marijuana Dispensary and Cannabis Business Opportunities

Under SB 2095, the Mississippi State Department of Health (MDOH) has primary regulatory responsibility for medical marijuana, which includes the authority to issue most cannabis business licenses. The Mississippi Department of Revenue (MDOR) is responsible for issuing licenses to medicinal cannabis dispensaries. 

Any company that wants to get licensed by the MDOH for any part of the state’s Medical Marijuana Program should register with the Secretary of State’s Office first.

Not every regulation has been etched in stone just yet, but you can get an idea of what’s required to secure a business license in Mississippi to sell cannabis by reading the full legislative overview here.

Medical Marijuana Business License Types

Licensing will be granted to the following types of medicinal marijuana businesses:

  • Cannabis cultivation facility (six tiers)
  • Cannabis micro-cultivation facility (two tiers)
  • Cannabis processing facility
  • Cannabis micro-processing facility (two tiers)
  • Cannabis disposal entity
  • Cannabis research facility
  • Cannabis testing facility
  • Cannabis transportation
  • Cannabis dispensary

There is no limit on the number of business licenses that may be issued. Individuals or businesses may not possess more than a ten percent ownership stake in more than 1 processing license, 1 cultivation license, and up to 4 dispensaries.

The MDOR and the MDOH will receive applications for licenses and grant licenses in accordance with their respective responsibilities, subject to the following:

  • By June 2022: The MDOH will begin accepting applications for medical cannabis cultivation, processing, disposal, research, testing, and transportation licenses. Licenses will be awarded within 30 days of application receipt.
  • By July 2022: The MDOR will begin accepting applications for cannabis dispensaries licenses. Licenses will be awarded within 30 days of application receipt.

Medical Cannabis License Fees

Micro-cultivators: 

  • Tier 1: $1,500 application fee, $2,000 annual license fee
  • Tier 2: $2,500 application fee, $3,500 annual license fee

Cultivators:    

  • Tier 1: $5,000 application fee, $15,000 annual license fee
  • Tier 2: $10,000 application fee, $25,000 annual license fee
  • Tier 3: $20,000 application fee, $50,000 annual license fee
  • Tier 4: $30,000 application fee, $75,000 annual license fee
  • Tier 5: $40,000 application fee, $100,000 annual license fee
  • Tier 6: $60,000 application fee, $150,000 annual license fee

Micro-processors:

  • Tier 1: $2,000 application fee, $3,500 annual license fee
  • Tier 2: $2,500 application fee, $5,000 annual license fee

Processors:   

  • $15,000 application fee, $20,000 annual license fee

Dispensaries:

  • $15,000 application fee, $25,000 annual license fee
  • If denied due to the 1,500-foot distance restriction, both payments may be refunded. If refused for another reason, only the license fee is refunded.

Cannabis transportation entities:

  • $5,000 application fee, $7,500 annual license fee

Cannabis disposal entities:

  • $5,000 application fee, $7,500 annual license fee

Cannabis testing facilities:

  • $10,000 application fee, $15,000 annual license fee

Cannabis research facilities:

  • $10,000 application fee, $15,000 annual license fee

Medical Cannabis Dispensary Eligible Applicants

  • Individuals above the age of 21
  • Anyone with an economic stake in the organization must be at least 21 yrs old
  • Not a member of the Mississippi Senate or House of Representatives or spouse of a member until Dec. 31, 2022
  • Has never had a cannabis-related license revoked before
  • Has no pending tax obligations to Mississippi.
  • Has never been convicted of a Mississippi Medical Cannabis Act specified disqualifying crime
  • An applicant doesn’t need to be a Mississippi resident to open a dispensary in the state.

Medical Cannabis Dispensary License Requirements 

To open a cannabis dispensary in Mississippi, the applicant must submit:

  • Business Name and Address
  • Documentation demonstrating registration with the Secretary of State of Mississippi (if applicable)
  • Sales Tax Permit Number
  • Agreements for Management Services (if applicable)
  • Trust deed, lease, or contingent agreement (if applicable)
  • Proof that the planned location’s main entrance is 1,000 feet from any school, church, or daycare facility
  • No medical marijuana dispensary may be within 1,500 feet of another’s main entrance.
  • Proof that site complies with county or city zoning/sworn declaration
  • Proof of registration for a local license (if needed by municipal or county)
  • List of everyone who has any kind of financial stake in the company (including owners, partners, members, officials, and board members)
  • Each member’s professional license and evidence of good standing
  • Members’ waivers and permission to release information
  • Diagram of licensed medical cannabis establishment
  • Operations plan
  • Security plan

Before applying for a cannabis dispensary license, you should:

  • Register for a Mississippi Sales Tax account and acquire a sales tax permit through TAP;
  • Register with the Mississippi Secretary of State

Recreational Use Legalization

For non-medical use, cannabis is prohibited in the state of Mississippi. Mississippi’s Retail Marijuana Act was the most recent push toward legalizing and regulating marijuana usage for recreational purposes  (HB 746). It would have allowed personal possession of up to one ounce of marijuana, cultivation of up to six marijuana plants, gifting of limited marijuana, and establishing a licensing procedure that included a social equality component. On January 17, 2022, it was referred to the drug policy committee, but it died in committee on February 1, 2022.

In the upcoming weeks and through 2022, we anticipate many new events going on in Mississippi that could change when and how recreational marijuana is legalized. We will keep you up to date on how to open a dispensary in Mississippi and all the important news, including the news that isn’t so easy to find. You can sign up for our Mississippi Cannabis Mailing List by filling out the form below.

This includes, but is not limited to

  • When will new cannabis license applications be available?
  • How much will it cost to open a dispensary in Mississippi?
  • What are the requirements to open a dispensary in Mississippi?
  • What special programs will be available?
  • And more

To get access, just fill out the information below.

Subscribe

* indicates required
What state would like updates on?

PLEASE SHARE THIS

Share on facebook
Share on linkedin

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE