A bill that would create a medical marijuana program in Mississippi would allow out-of-state residents and even non citizens to own cultivation and processing operations if signed into law.
Starting at line 1,404 of Senate Bill 2095 (known as the Mississippi Medical Marijuana Act), the bill spells out the requirements for owners of marijuana cultivation and processing facilities.
Applicants would be required to either have been a resident of the state and a U.S. citizen for three years prior to their application or a business entity with 35 percent of their ownership held by those that met the three-year residency and citizenship requirement.
The bill’s requirements for cultivators and processors expire at year’s end. This would allow both out-of-state and potentially non-citizens from owning processing and growing facilities.
State Sen. Angela Hill, R-Picayune, is a long-time opponent of the bill and said that the loophole invites foreign criminals to grow marijuana in the state. She was one of five no votes against the bill when it was passed by the Senate on January 13.
“You can’t make this this stuff up,” Hill told the Northside Sun. “Sounds like Chicago-style politics. Rolling out the red carpet for the foreign criminal cartels doesn’t make walking-around sense.”
Another loophole is located at line 1,361, which would allow lawmakers and their spouses to own dispensaries. Lawmakers would be prohibited from ownership initially, but that requirement would expire at the end of this year if the bill becomes law.
SB 2095 was authored by state Sen. Kevin Blackwell, R-Southaven.
The Senate will have to concur with the bill since it was amended by the House Drug Policy Committee, with the biggest change governing the responsible agency for the program. This was changed from the Mississippi Department of Agriculture and Commerce to the Department of Health.
The amendment also reduced the amount of cannabis that a medical marijuana card holder could receive from seven doses to six per week or a total of 21 grams of cannabis flower (the psychoactive part of the plant).
If the Senate concurs with the changes to the bill, it’ll go to Gov. Tate Reeves for a potential signature into law. If it doesn’t, the chamber can invite conference with the House to reach a compromise.