LUCEDALE, Miss. (WKRG) – Mississippi became the 37th state to legalize medical marijuana in February 2022. Now, Mississippians are eligible to submit applications to be able to purchase marijuana products when they become available.
Below is a list of questions and answers for potential patients. All information is sourced from the text of the Mississippi Medical Cannabis Act and the state health department. Have other questions, email us at MyStory@wkrg.com.
Who can buy medical marijuana products?
Anyone with a medical marijuana card issued by the state health department.
The standard nonrefundable fee is $25 for the initial application. It is $15 for Medicaid recipients and free for disabled veterans and first responders. Fees are the same for yearly renewal.
The steps to apply for a card is as follows:
- Step 1: Schedules visit with physician, nurse practitioner or optometrist participating in the medical cannabis program.
- Step 2: Practitioner sees the patient in-person and determines they have a qualifying condition. Practitioner completes medical certification for the medical cannabis program for the patient. Certification is not a prescription.
- Step 3: Within 60 days of medical certification, patient submits an online application to participate in the medical cannabis program.
- Step 4: Patient receives electronic identification card within 5-10 days after application submitted. The card is valid for a time period specified by the certifying practitioner or a maximum of one year.
- Step 5: Patient selects licensed dispensary to purchase medical cannabis.
Age and medical condition requirement
Any permanent Mississippi resident at least 18-years-old with a qualifying medical condition may apply for a card.
People 18-25 years old require a diagnosis from two certified practitioners from different practices, one of which must be a physician or doctor of osteopathic medicine.
The following medical conditions or their treatment qualify for participation in the Mississippi Medical Cannabis Program:
- Parkinson’s disease
- Huntington’s disease
- muscular dystrophy
- spastic quadriplegia
- positive status for human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)
- acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS)
- amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS)
- Crohn’s disease
- ulcerative colitis
- sickle-cell anemia
- Alzheimer’s disease
- agitation of dementia
- post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
- pain refractory to appropriate opioid management
- diabetic/peripheral neuropathy
- spinal cord disease or severe injury
Also qualifying is a chronic terminal or debilitating disease or medical condition or its treatment that produces one or more of the following:
- cachexia or wasting syndrome
- chronic pain
- severe or intractable nausea
- severe and persistent muscle spasms including, but not limited to, those characteristic of multiple sclerosis
Can I grow my own medical marijuana?
No, the Mississippi Medical Cannabis Act (MMCA) does not allow for personal growth or any business to grow outdoors. A different bill presented in the 2022 legislative session would have allowed for personal growth but died in committee.
When will the first medical marijuana products grown under the MMCA be sold in Mississippi?
The state health department anticipates that cannabis products will become available to patients in late 2022 (likely December) to allow time for cultivation of marijuana in the state and required safety testing.
Will my insurance pay for medical cannabis?
Likely not. The MMCA does not require health insurers to pay for or reimburse any individual or entity for costs associated with the medical use of cannabis.
Can I smoke or consume medical marijuana in public?
No. Public consumption is prohibited under the MMCA and does not allow for smoking medical cannabis in a public place or in a motor vehicle. Cannabis products must be taken off-site from dispensaries to be consumed.
Is medical marijuana use protected in the workplace? Can I be fired for using it?
An employer still has the right to deny anyone employment or terminate a person for using medical marijuana. The MMCA does not require any employer to allow the medical use of medical cannabis.
The Mississippi Cannabis Patients Alliance (MCPA) advises that some employers may choose to show some tolerance toward employees who possess Registry ID cards and receive authorized treatments of medical cannabis – as opposed to zero tolerance for all confirmed positive drug tests.
MCPA says mployers will need to be mindful of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA). The MMCA defines what conditions will constitute a “debilitating medical condition”. Many would qualify as a disability under the ADA or a serious health condition under the FMLA.
Are there limits to how much medical marijuana can be bought?
¾ of an ounce is the limit an individual may buy per week.
Have other questions, email us at MyStory@wkrg.com.