Mississippi Cannabis Laws
Is Cannabis Legal In Mississippi?
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Is recreational cannabis legal in Mississippi?
No. Recreational adult-use of cannabis is illegal in Mississippi. Mississippi’s history with cannabis legalization is complex and full of dichotomy. While the state first legalized a small amount of possession in 1978, any amount above 30 grams is a felony and can result in jail time at a minimum of three years.
Interestingly enough, the University of Mississippi is the country’s producer of federally legal marijuana. Over 50 years ago, the Research Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences at the Ole Miss’ School of Pharmacy was awarded a competitive contract from the government to grow marijuana that could be standardized for research. So while the state has not pushed for any legalization for commercial use to benefit their state, Ole Miss collaborates with industry partners to support the development and commercialization of FDA-approved drug products derived from cannabis.
Is Medical Marijuana legal in Mississippi?
Yes. With the passing of ballot Initiative 65 in the 2020 election, qualified patients with debilitating medical conditions may use marijuana as a treatment when certified by a licensed Missippi physician. Approved patients will be able to possess up to 2.5 oz of medical marijuana within 14 days.
Patients who suffer from these illnesses may qualify for MMJ treatment :
- Epilepsy or other seizures
- Parkinson’s disease
- Huntington’s disease
- Muscular dystrophy
- Multiple sclerosis
- Cachexia (weakness and wasting due to chronic illness)
- Post-traumatic stress disorder
- Chronic or debilitating pain
- Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or ALS
- Agitation from dementia
- Crohn’s disease
- Ulcerative colitis
- Sickle-cell anemia
- Other conditions where a physician believes the benefits of marijuana would outweigh risks
As of 2021, Mississippi’s Department of Health has implemented a timeline for the MMj program rollout. Unfortunately, like many other states, delays due to gridlock within the health department are likely. Currently, the board responsible for law and enforcement in the provisions opposes the initiative. Many Mississippi legislators are also working to undo the initiative, even though it was passed by voters with a 74% majority.
Are CBD products legal in Mississippi? ,
Yes. Since the passage of the Hemp Farming Act of 2018, hemp-derived CBD products are legal under federal law in the United States, as long as they contain at most 0.3% THC.
Any and all CBD in food and drink is still federally illegal.
What’s Mississippi’s MMJ sales tax?
7% is the current sales tax for medical marijuana products currently cited in Initiative 65.
Yet, the constitutional amendment is under intense litigation with lawsuits and measures brought forward daily. As of Feb 2020, a new proposal questions the need for a tax on medical marijuana as the state does not tax prescription drugs.
Mississippi’s Cannabis Timeline:
1937: The Marihuana (archaic spelling of Marijuana) Tax Act was enacted banning cannabis at the federal level. Medical Marijuana use was still permitted.
1951: The Boggs Act, Sponsored by Hale Boggs and signed into law under President Harry S. Truman, This act set mandatory sentencing and increased punishment for cannabis possession.
1961: Mississippi’s Research Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences at the Ole Miss’ School of Pharmacy was awarded a competitive contract from the government to grow marijuana that could be standardized for research
1969: The Marihuana Tax Act is deemed unconstitutional in the landmark Leary v. United States. Timothy Leary, a professor, and activist was arrested for the possession of marijuana in violation of the 1937 Marihuana Tax Act. Leary then challenged the act on the ground that the act required self-incrimination, which violated his Fifth Amendment rights. (The self-incrimination clause provides various protections against self-incrimination, including the right of an individual to not serve as a witness in a criminal case in which they are the defendant, better known as “Pleading the Fifth.”) The unanimous opinion of the court was penned by Justice John Marshall Harlan II and declared the Marihuana Tax Act unconstitutional. Therefore, Leary’s conviction was overturned.
1970: The Controlled Substances Act is enacted (replacing the unconstitutional Marihuana Tax Act). Cannabis is classified as a Schedule I drug, determined to have a high potential for abuse and no accepted medical use, thereby prohibiting its use for any purpose. This act was signed into law by President Richard Nixon.
This legislation created five classifications, with specific qualifications for a substance to be included in each. The substance scheduling (classification) is, determined by the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Yet, Congress does have the power to schedule or de-schedule substances through legislation. Substance scheduling decisions are based on its potential for abuse, accepted medical use in treatment in the United States, and international treaties.
Classification of Controlled Substances:
Schedule I: High potential of abuse, not acceptable for medical use
Schedule II: High potential of abuse, sometimes allowed with “severe restrictions” for medical use
Schedule II: Medium potential of abuse, acceptable for medical use
Schedule IV: Moderate potential of abuse, acceptable for medical use
Schedule V: Lowest potential of abuse, acceptable for medical use
1984-1986: Mandatory Sentencing and the three-strikes law were created under the Reagan Administration. This accounts for some of the harshest drug laws created including mandatory 25-year imprisonment for certain drug offenses and the death penalty’s promotion, to be used against “drug kingpins.”
1998: House Joint Resolution 117, encouraged by the passing of California’s Prop 215, the House of Representatives passed this measure to support the existing Federal legal process for determining the safety and efficacy of certain drugs.
2014: The Rohrabacher–Farr Amendment passed in the U.S. House and signed into law prohibiting the Justice Department from interfering with the implementation of state medical cannabis laws.
2014: HB 1231 Harper Grace’s Act is named after Davet syndrome patient Harper Grace Durval. Her mother proposed the amendment to help treat her daughter’s severe epilepsy with CBD oil. The amendment passed, making it the first medical marijuana legislation in the state of Mississippi. While HB 1231 is one of the most restricted medical marijuana programs in the country, it has helped bring mainstream awareness to the positive effects of cannabis treatment for patients with severe disorders.
2018: Farm bill legalizes low-THC hemp nationwide and effectively de-schedules hemp-derived cannabidiol (CBD) from the Controlled Substances Act.
2020: Mississippians for Compassionate Care, Initiative 65, is passed by 74% of voters, creating the first Medical Marijuana Program in the state.
2021: Mississippi creates a timeline for medical marijuana rollout.