This comes exactly three months after Gov. Tate Reeves signed the new law making Mississippi the 37th state to legalize medical marijuana.
Under the law, communities had until May 3 to decide whether they wanted certain marijuana businesses to operate in their communities. The provision specifically targets dispensaries, cultivators and marijuana processing facilities. City and county leaders have the option to opt back in at any time under the law. Residents also have the option to request a special election to decide to opt back in.
Communities that decide not to opt-opt out are automatically considered part of the program.
City leaders in different communities shared a variety of concerns over the last three months including worries about the impact on public safety and law enforcement, concerns about how the program would be regulated, and zoning issues.
The law has specific requirements for medical marijuana dispensaries that require the business to show proof that the main entrance of the location is not within 1,000 feet of the boundary line of a church, school, or daycare. Dispensaries aren’t allowed to be within 1,500 feet of each other.
The Mississippi Cannabis Trade Association is leading efforts to organize petitions in some of these communities. Melvin Robinson III, the spokesperson for the organization explained that each community would need to collect either 1,500 signatures or signatures from 20% of the population, whichever is lower.
The organization has been tracking which cities and counties had opted out as of May 1. The list could change should localities decide to participate in the program.
- Pearl River
- Horn Lake
- New Albany
- Pass Christian
Maria Clark is a general assignment reporter with The American South. Story ideas, tips, questions? Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow her on Twitter @MariaPClark1. Sign up for The American South newsletter. Follow us on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.