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Supervisors and City Council hear explanation of medical marijuana bill

The Picayune City Council and Pearl River County Board of Supervisors each received an explanation of what the new medical marijuana bill entails during their meetings.

The 594 page bill states that any person diagnosed with a debilitating medical condition by a practitioner with whom the patient has a bonified relationship with, and the practitioner believes the patient will receive benefits from the use of medical marijuana, can receive it. The patient must also receive a registry ID card from the State Dept of Health and re-new it every 6 months. The patient could then go to a dispensary regulated by the MS Dept of Revenue to purchase marijuana.

The State Dept of Health and State Dept of Revenue have the sole authority to regulate the growth, shipping, and dispensing of medical marijuana. At this point in time, local governments can only pass ordinances that cover time, place, and manner of dispensing.

The State has 120 days from Feb 2nd to set the rules and regulations pertaining to the over site of all aspects of distribution and sales. Municipalities only have until May 2nd to choose to "opt in" or "opt out". If a decision is not made by then, an automatic opt in will be set by the State with no recourse available to the City.

If local governments choose to opt out before the deadline, they retain the option to opt in at a later date once they can review the states rules and regulations. Once an opt in is place, it cannot be reversed.

Card holders would still be able to travel to opt in areas and bring their medical marijuana into areas that opted out.

All proceeds from the manufacture, sale, fines, and taxes shall be deposited into the general fund of the State of Mississippi. Municipalities would only receive the regular amount of sales tax revenue from the point of sale.

Employers may still keep drug testing policies and place conditions on employment as to not allow employees to be under the influence. More information will not be available until the Dept of Health and Dept of Revenue release their rules and regulations.

Pearl River County Board Attorney summarized the bill on Wednesday for the Board of Supervisors.

Montgomery said the Medical Marijuana bill is a lengthy document of almost 600 pages, and it leaves very little room for the County to make any decisions regarding the rules and regulations when it comes to medical marijuana. The County will have the say when it comes to the times and locations for dispensaries to open and locate.

The Board has until May 2nd to opt in, or opt out, to allow for the growth and sale of Cannabis in the County. Some neighboring Counties have already opted in, which would allow medical marijuana card holding citizens the right to travel outside of Pearl River County and legally bring it back.

The Board of Supervisors will be discussing the matter as soon as possible and make a formal vote before May 2nd.



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