After seven years of discussing the topic of medical marijuana legalization, the Mississippi state representative assembly has finally decided on approval. And based on the amount of time it has taken to reach an approval, one would think that the industry would be ready to operate immediately. However, that is far from the case. The new law authorizing sales of marijuana did little to get the program going effectively, and there are two immediate problems that must be addressed to avoid becoming the Oklahoma of the south.
No maximum number of dispensaries
The first issue is with overall sales and industry competition. The new law failed to establish specific restrictions regarding a maximum number of dispensaries. While still outlawed federally, this situation means Mississippi could become the Oklahoma of the southern United States where there is a dispensary on every corner. Those attempting to obtain a medical marijuana card from outside the state will be denied without an in-state residence, and they could be culpable for drug charges if they transport the drug to another state.
Expensive startup costs
Another particular problem for new start-up dispensaries is the cost. There will be a $25,000 annual fee for a license and an additional non-refundable $15,000 application fee. Oklahoma is considerably less for both. The concept behind this is that it will keep the number of applicants for dispensary licensing to a minimum. How marijuana will be grown legally is an issue as well. It is still federally unlawful to transport marijuana across state lines within the United States, which means some distributors could still be exposed to a drug trafficking charge for obtaining inventory.
There will assuredly be corporations from other states interested in doing business in Mississippi just as with in-state venture capitalists. With the initial approach to legalization being where it is in Initiative 65, there are still some variables to address for those willing to put up the sizable investment that is now necessary.