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Supervisors still deciding on approach to opt in or opt out on medical marijuana

During Monday's meeting of the Pearl River County Board of Supervisors, County Administrator Adrain Lumpkin told the board that he was not sure of the exact intent of the Picayune City Council in regards to medical marijuana opt in / opt out. Lumpkin had a meeting last Thursday where he provided details to the city on where either growing or retail dispensaries could be located based on existing schools and churches.

Mr. Lumpkin stated he was in the mindset that the county would opt out of allowing dispensaries and the city would opt of allowing growing the medical marijuana, but he has not received definitive agreement from the city on that approach. This joint approach, along with ordinances from each entity, would be put in place to limit, but not completely ban the growing and selling of medical marijuana as outlined by the state in its passage of the bill.

The MS Medical Cannabis Act gives counties and municipalities the ability to opt out of the medical cannabis program through a vote by the board of supervisors of the county or governing authorities of the municipalities.

The city and county have until May 2 to notify the state of their intention.

Board President and District 5 Supervisor Sandy Kane Smith explained that this approach would allow the cities to collect revenue for sales tax of dispensaries in the city limits; if a dispensary is located in the county, like other retail outlets, the sales tax would go directly to the state. District 3 Supervisor Hudson Holliday had an objection concern about that approach.

“We would be creating the same situation we have today with beer and wine. While the stores inside the city limits are able to sell it, those in the county cannot. I know there are at least 25 stores in the county who can’t sell beer and wine, so we would be keeping people who want to have a store (to sell the marijuana in the county) from being able to do so.”

Holliday added, “Everyone complains to us they don’t want more government. Every time we put a control on something, we are basically taking a freedom away. Government is like water; you need some to be healthly, but you can drown in it.”

Holliday suggested that if the county is going to opt out of either option as was discussed, the supervisors should setup a public hearing before any final decisions are made.



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