Medical marijuana is finally legal in Mississippi after the state's Republican governor, Tate Reeves, signed a bill into law earlier this month.
The new legislation immediately went into effect after being signed. Mississippi now becomes the 37th state to legalize medical marijuana.
According to the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML), the national tipping point has already been reached, with remaining states now considering some form of future medical cannabis legalization.
In addition to the thirty-seven states, Washington D.C., Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, and Guam also have legislation allowing the use of medical marijuana.
Eligible patients, including those diagnosed with cancer, AIDS, Parkinson's disease, Crohn's disease, Huntington's disease, autism, and more, will purchase medical marijuana under the new Mississippi law.
Patients must receive a certification from a qualified medical practitioner following an in-person exam and obtain a registry identification card from Mississippi's DOH (Department of Health.)
The new law prohibits any dispensaries from being located within one thousand feet of schools, churches, or child care facilities without first receiving a waiver. It also prohibits discrimination against any medical marijuana cardholder from landlords, schools, and employers.
However, there are limitations that facilities like hospitals and nursing homes can enforce. Under the law, the facilities "may adopt appropriate restrictions on the use of medical marijuana." However, child care facilities and schools "will be allowed to administer medical marijuana in the same manner as with medical prescriptions."
The effort underwent a painstaking process over the past few years. In November 2020, a similar bill approved by voters with overwhelming support hit a hurdle in the state's Supreme Court.
Eventually, legislators got it past the finish line after some back-and-forth about the amount of marijuana that one will be allowed to purchase.