/New medical marijuana law draws millions in Mississippi investment

New medical marijuana law draws millions in Mississippi investment

Delaney, 42 years old, waited for Mississippi’s medical cannabis program to pass legislative hurdles. She then set up a foundation selling legal products with hemp-extract Cannabidiol (or CBD) as she was able. Hemp is cannabis’ cousin, marijuana without the high. Delaney opened her Hemp World first store in 2019. She had just quit her job as an insurance agent to open her first Hemp World store in 2019. Her husband worked at a Nissan manufacturing facility. They struggled to pay their bills, build their savings, and care for their six children. Delaney’s financial situation changed dramatically when she started selling CBD. It will also be legal for medical marijuana. She said that it was not only for her business but also for the state. Delaney, who was speaking from the new Hemp World store she helped open in Olive Branch, said that “we’re on a cusp of an green economy here.” She explained that the “green” economy is all the new jobs and revenue that will soon be brought into Mississippi to support the medical cannabis industry. Delaney and other entrepreneurs have invested hundreds of thousands, sometimes even millions, to help Mississippi’s medical cannabis program become a reality. Members of the Mississippi health board said that regulations will be in place for the program by July. The following month is the deadline for Mississippi to issue licenses for dispensaries, and cards for patients. According to growers, medical marijuana could be available for patients as soon as this fall. It will be available in the new year, according to most. Clint Patterson, the cannabis entrepreneur behind one of Mississippi’s most successful product and growing businesses, said that there will be thousands to thousands of new jobs. “People who have worked in legal states will migrate to Mississippi to find better opportunities,” said Clint Patterson, the cannabis entrepreneur behind this new venture. Mississippi was one of three states that saw a decline in population since 2010. Patterson was shocked at the impact medical marijuana had on his Oklahoma home, where he founded his businesses. Hydroponic grow houses will be able to take over abandoned warehouses and factories. He said that property values will rise overall. Mockingbird Cannabis, the Mississippi-based company that is named after the state bird, has taken over the 163,000-square foot building where the Department of Revenue of the State of Mississippi was located. Patterson stated that Mockingbird invested $30 million in the facility and will create up to 200 jobs. Delaney believes that her experiences with CBD and hemp have shown how transformative medical cannabis can be for Mississippians, as a way to build wealth in one the poorest states of the nation. Delaney runs two CBD shops in Pearl, Jackson with her husband. Through Hemp World’s store partnership program, she has also set up six additional shops with entrepreneurs. Each store will apply for licenses to dispensary medical marijuana under the state’s growing program. According to the state health department, applications will be accepted starting in June. The state will tax medical marijuana products with a 7% sales tax. Delaney studied the laws of other states regarding medical marijuana in hopes that she can easily convert her CBD shops into dispensaries. She ensures that shops aren’t located near schools and churches, which is prohibited by the new law. It’s now a waiting game while the health department provides more specifications. For Mississippi’s potential medical marijuana users and businesses, it’s been a bumpy road. Initiative 65 was passed by the voters in November 2020 to establish a medical marijuana program. The state Supreme Court ruled against it on a technicality in May 2021. Melvin Robinson, spokesperson for the Mississippi Cannabis Trade Association, said that Initiative 65 was rescinded by the Supreme Court. “It kind of put things into limbo.” “People were worried about their investment going nowhere.” Gov. Tate Reeves has signed the Mississippi Medical Cannabis Act.
The trade association receives dozens of calls and emails each day from Mississippians wishing to get a piece of the medical marijuana industry. Already, out-of-state investments are being made. According to Michael Salaman, the president of Grow Generation, its 64th U.S. facility will be opened in Jackson this summer. Colorado is the home of the publicly traded company. Its stores sell tools and growing supplies, including a Home Depot for the marijuana industry in 13 states. The Mississippi store is 14 miles away. Salaman stated that the store, which covers 40,000 square feet and is located in an old warehouse for restaurant supplies, will open this summer. It will house inventory worth upwards to $3 million. He said that there will be another location within 12 months. His team is currently looking for properties near the Tennessee border and the Gulf Coast. This will be the company’s first entry to the Southern market. Salaman estimates that the company will hire 50-100 new Mississippi employees, including warehouse and store managers as well as salespeople and truck drivers. Salaman stated that they will bring in growers as well as educational training. “We offer not only products, but also the knowledge to growers so they are successful.” Mississippi’s bill allows microgrowers to obtain licenses starting at $2,000 per year. There is a $1500 application fee. Based on the size of a grow facility, there are six levels to the cost. Robinson stated that the cost of cannabis is very affordable. It’s beneficial to small businesses and entrepreneurs. Large growers with over 100,000 square feet will need to pay a $60,000 application and $150,000 annually for a license. However, the dispensary system is not tiered. Delaney, a business owner, will need to pay $15,000 for a license to buy and an annual fee $25,000 regardless of their businesses’ size. Delaney acknowledged that this can create a barrier to entry. That is why she started the Hemp World partnership program in order to help other entrepreneurs get their shops up and running. This has been a way she can support the Black community. She is also the Mississippi chapter president for Minorities for Medical Marijuana. Delaney stated that Black Mississippians are not represented and are more likely to be incarcerated. “We’re disenfranchised so we need to have a steppingstone to get in the industry.” The new law is more about Mississippi entrepreneurs than it is about creating a system that could take profits out of the state. All marijuana products, including gummies and oil, must be grown and manufactured in Mississippi. Patterson claims that at least 80% will be Mississippians. These positions include warehouse jobs at $17 an hour, which is well over the $7.25 minimum wage in Mississippi, to executive positions. Mississippi’s program will be more fully operational the closer it is. This will lead to more ancillary businesses, such as high-end security services and transport services for waste disposal companies.