/Mockingbird Cannabis gears up to open medical marijuana operation

Mockingbird Cannabis gears up to open medical marijuana operation

This 163,000-square-foot giant used to house the Department of Revenue of the state. It is now home to Mockingbird Cannabis, a $30-million bet on the state’s medical marijuana market. Each room can produce 250-300 pounds of marijuana in eight weeks. The facility will be managed by more than 200 workers, with the lowest-paid earning $17 an hour. Clint Patterson, chief executive of Mockingbird Cannabis said that he believes they will see demand for the product because 74% of voters approved it. Patterson stated, “I believe that there is probably a billion-dollar industry in Mississippi cannabis right now if we are being transparent and honest.” Patterson, who is a former prosecutor, and the son of nondenominational ministers, is an unlikely marijuana kingpin. Patterson claims that he didn’t consider cannabis to be dangerous or bad, even though it was illegal in Oklahoma. Patterson stated that he was for legalization and regulation. Patterson said, “So when that happened I jumped in.” Patterson started Oklahoma’s marijuana business with a small 1,200-square foot lab that made vape cartridges. This grew to six locations for growing and manufacturing marijuana. Patterson stated that Oklahoma is the most difficult place in the country to compete, but Patterson believes they do what they do well. “That gave us confidence to travel to other states with better business situations than Oklahoma,” Patterson said. Although it is impossible to predict the impact of medical marijuana on Mississippi’s economy, Slates Veazey, an attorney in Jackson who advises cannabis companies, stated that the state will be a major economic engine. Veazey stated that there is a lot of interest and competition in the new industry. In every state that legalized medical marijuana, Veazey has seen both large businesses and small business owners compete for their customers and become successful. Patterson stated that Mockingbird was the culmination all they have learned from Oklahoma. The overhead costs will be reduced by bringing all the operations under one roof. Patterson stated that marijuana production science is constantly evolving. Since they began building Mockingbird, everything has changed from how marijuana plants are lit to how they are fed. They have switched from incandescent lightbulbs to more efficient LEDs, which can be adjusted and decreased. Upchurch Plumbing was also involved in the development of a computerized fertilization system. This system combines agricultural fertilization with irrigation to create nutritional cocktails that are specific to each stage of plant development. Patterson stated that Patterson thought they were at the forefront of technology two years ago. “… This facility is truly the most advanced, state-of the-art facility that I could ever design.” Patterson explained that large companies from out-ofstate took the majority of Oklahoma’s market share when medical marijuana became legal. The state lost the majority of the revenue as a result. Patterson stated that Mississippi is, along with Oklahoma, one of the poorest countries in the country. He and his team determined that they would do everything they could to stop that from happening if they wanted to be a major player in Mississippi’s medical cannabis industry. Patterson stated that Patterson took a lot time and met many people in Mississippi. They raised the majority of their money from Mississippians. “We’re going to make lots of money here, but we wanted it to have the desired effect.” Mockingbird’s investors in Mississippi didn’t abandon their cause after the Mississippi Supreme Court ruled against the 2020 medical marijuana program that voters approved. This was due to a constitutional issue. “We got everyone together and said, ‘Hey 74% of the state voted in favor of this. Patterson stated that there is going to be a program. However, it might not happen immediately. Leah Vincent, Pickens is one of those investors. Vincent pooled her money with her husband to invest in Mockingbird in late 2019. Vincent saw Initiative 65 as a delay, and Vincent agreed with that decision by the state Supreme Court. Vincent stated, “It’s just f-ing Mississippi.” They just need to get rid of it. It’s all about political face-saving. “I’ve lived in Mississippi my entire life so it was not surprising but still frustrating.” Vincent, her husband and their investment are viewed as a retirement plan. They believe that Mississippi will eventually legalize recreational marijuana. Vincent stated, “We knew Mississippi would be different than other legal states.” Vincent said, “But down the line it’s going be bigger everywhere. It’s coming, I mean.” Mockingbird continued to grow even though the Legislature took longer than expected to pass a medical marijuana law. Patterson stated that he believes other marijuana companies are doing the exact opposite. Patterson stated that they will take a bit longer to get started. We took a chance and placed our faith in the state to do what was right. So we are ready and primed and will take advantage.” Patterson estimates that Mississippi will receive between $150 and 200 million in tax revenue, as well as $50 to 100 millions in business fees during the first year of the legalization of medical marijuana. When Mississippi Today asked Patterson for the source of these estimates, he didn’t respond. This staggering figure would make medical cannabis a bigger source of tax revenue than Mississippi’s casino industry which contributed $153,724,705 to the state’s coffers in the 2021 fiscal years. This figure would be comparable to the state’s sales of alcohol, beer, and tobacco, which accounted for $283,667.815 in tax revenue during the same period. This would be more revenue than Oklahoma’s medical marijuana sector, widely regarded as a recreational program that is de facto legalized due to its lax requirements for obtaining a card. “Ten percent of our current population has a medical cannabis card… and two- to three people use each one of those cards… I didn’t know there were so many people in Oklahoma,” Scott Fetgatter, Oklahoma state representative, told Mississippi’s Senate Public Health and Welfare Committee at a June 2021 hearing. According to the Oklahoman, between Oklahoma’s legalization in May 2018 and May 2020 of medical marijuana, the state has collected $110 million from its 7% marijuana tax, and $138 million from state- and local sales taxes. Mississippi’s Department of Health will begin accepting online applications for licenses for medical marijuana patients and businesses in the next month.