The next steps for Mississippi after vote to legalize medical marijuana

COLUMBUS, Miss. (WCBI) — Tuesday, 74 percent of voters chose to approve Initiative 65 as Mississippi joins 35 other states in legalization of medical marijuana.

“Mississippians spoke and they spoke very loudly,” says medical marijuana advocate Ronnie Pollard.

For Pollard, who’s daughter has used CBD oil in her battle with Leukemia, it was an emotional day.

“We have loved ones that have been in pain, have been fighting cancer have been in seizures and multiple other illnesses that this can help,” he says.

Pollard volunteers with Mississippi for Compassionate Care, the group that sponsored the campaign for the citizen-lead initiative. Doctors will now be able to prescribe marijuana to patients suffering from a list of 22 debilitating conditions, including cancer, epilepsy and ALS.

But there are still several steps left before Mississippians can find medical marijuana at their local pharmacy.

“The state will have to figure out how they’re going to regulate it,” says Columbus pharmacist Robert White. “I’m sure the state pharmacy board wants to be involved and maintain control.”

The Mississippi Department of Health will be in charge of regulating the growing, processing and distributing of the medical marijuana. They are currently scheduled to have all new rules and procedures in place by July 2021. After that, local pharmacies like Robert’s Apothecary (owned by White) in Columbus will need to qualify to carry medical marijuana.

“I’m sure each dispensary will have to be certified by one or more state regulatory agencies,” White says.

Identification cards and treatment center licenses are currently expected to be ready by August 2021. But once it is available, White says it can open whole new treatment options for Mississippians.

“In addition to pain, it’s good for seizures, inflammation, postpartum depression,” he says.

In Louisiana, it took close to five years from the time medical marijuana was legalized to the time it was available in dispensaries. Pollard says he is hopeful that Mississippi won’t have to wait that long.

Categories: Featured, Local News, Mississippi State News

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