Efforts slowly continue as Mississippi’s medical marijuana program becomes established | Mississippi News

The program is still in the preliminary implementation, but industry partners think it could be a matter of weeks before product is approved and available. 

The Mississippi State Department of Health (MSDD) is continuing to diligently work to provide access to the state’s new medical marijuana program. The program was established by the Mississippi Legislature after voters in the state showed overwhelming support for the medical option on a ballot initiative.

According to Steep Hill Mississippi, an industry partner that has been licensed by MSDH, they are working on the mandatory testing method validation process that is set to be approved by the health department. The lab began their work in September. Cliff Osborn, Cofounder, said at that time that this process could take several months.

Steep Hill was licensed as the state’s first medical cannabis testing lab in August 2022.

“We are making every effort to expedite this process, including additional staffing, consultants, and overtime by our science team in pursuit of completion,” said the Steep Hill team. “Once approved by MSDH, we will still need to complete deliberate and orderly customer onboarding process in order to meet customer expectations and maintain scientific integrity.  We have requested that the MSDH review and approve our lab for flower testing first and then complete their review for processed product testing soon thereafter.”

The lab estimates that they will be ready to collect test samples in the coming weeks but are unable to provide a specific date at this time. In the interim, two sampling technicians have been hired.

“While I had anticipated an earlier availability for our qualified patients with debilitating conditions, I’m looking forward to having a vibrant medical cannabis program up and running in the state of Mississippi. The Department of Health is monitoring the progress of the testing centers and I expect them to be green-lighted shortly,” said Representative Lee Yancey, Chairman of the Drug Policy committee in the House.

MSDH says the program has been up and running since June 2022, per legislative requirements.

“MSDH expects that the program will continue to make improvements as the program evolves.  The application window for prospective medical cannabis establishments, like cultivators and processors, does not close.  We continue to steadily receive applications,” said Kris Jones Adcock, Assistant Senior Deputy, the MS Medical Cannabis Program.

He reiterated that they are hopeful that tested products will become available in the first quarter of the new year.

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