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The State of Cannabis Legislation & Licensing: Alabama, Mississippi, Tennessee

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The State of Cannabis Legislation & Licensing: Alabama, Mississippi, Tennessee

Cannabis Business Licensing in Alabama | Alabama Cannabis Business Licensing | Cannabis Business Licensing in Mississippi | Cannabis Business Licensing in Tennessee

The following is a summary of marijuana legislation and cannabis business licensing in Alabama, Mississippi, and Tennessee, as of July 2019.

Eleven U.S. states and Washington, D.C. have legalized recreational cannabis use. Democratic Congresswoman Ilhan Omar from Minnesota doesn’t think states individually mandating is the best course of action. Rep. Omar called on the federal government to take the lead in legalizing marijuana nationwide, in part due to legal differences between states exacerbating economic inequality.

As laws differ between states, one person’s profit can be another person’s incarceration. Omar is among the House co-sponsors of legislation — the Marijuana Justice Act — to remove marijuana from a federal list of controlled substances. The bill would also erase past federal convictions for marijuana possession or use, convictions that undermine the efforts of many former prisoners to rehabilitate and secure jobs. 

Below is a compiled listing of marijuana legislation and cannabis business licensing in Alabama, Mississippi, and Tennessee, as of July 2019.

Cannabis Business Licensing in Alabama

Cannabis is illegal for both medical and recreational growth, distribution, and use in Alabama. CBD oil is allowed for limited conditions that produce seizures and must have less than 3% measurable THC. Neither home cultivation nor a state-regulated dispensary system is allowed.

Marijuana for “personal use only” is a Class A Misdemeanor, punishable by a maximum sentence of one year and a maximum fine of $6,000. Jefferson County issues citations for small amounts of marijuana. A state marijuana tax stamp law is enacted, which mandates those who possess marijuana are legally required to purchase and affix state-issued stamps onto his or her contraband. Failure to do so may result in a fine and/or criminal sanction. 

The Alabama Senate approved a bill to legalize medical cannabis but it was rejected by the House of Representatives. Alabama took a potential step forward to legalize medical cannabis in 2020 recently. Gov. Kay Ivey signed a bill into law which would set up a medical marijuana commission to study the issue and then make recommendations to the Alabama Legislature next year on how to implement a medical cannabis program. The bill was a result of a compromise between state lawmakers in the waning hours of the 2019 legislative session after an attempt at MMJ legalization passed the state Senate but then hit a wall in a House committee.

The new commission will have 15 members, including doctors and other appointees from the governor, state lawmakers and the Alabama attorney general. Draft legislation and MMJ policy recommendations are due to the Legislature by Dec. 1, 2019. The bill also extends a statute which allows some patients to access CBD oil through a study at the University of Alabama at Birmingham.

Applications for hemp, CBD, and medical and recreational cannabis business licenses in Alabama are not currently being accepted.

Cannabis Business Licensing in Mississippi

Cannabis is illegal for both medical and recreational growth, distribution, and use in Mississippi. Possession of small amounts was decriminalized in 1978. Use of low-THC/high-CBD products is allowed for severe seizure disorders. Only the National Center for Natural Products Research at the University of Mississippi may produce CBD oil, and only the Department of Pharmacy Services at the University of Mississippi may dispense CBD oil.

Lawmakers recently created a Hemp Cultivation Task Force, which held its first meeting July 8, 2019. Upon results from this group, the state legislature will determine the forward path for hemp growth, then use in Mississippi.

Activists in Mississippi working towards a state ballot initiative for medical marijuana in 2020 say they’ve nearly collected enough petition signatures. The proposed initiative would allow patients with a debilitating medical condition to consult their doctor and obtain a recommendation for medical cannabis. The measure lists 22 qualifying conditions, including cancer, epilepsy, post-traumatic stress disorder, and chronic pain. Registered patients could purchase up to 2.5 ounces of marijuana for therapeutic purposes in a 14-day period.

Once submitted, the gathered signatures must be certified by the Mississippi Secretary of State. The signature gathering process will continue after collecting a raw number exceeding the required total to ensure the campaign still makes the cut if some of those they’ve already collected are deemed invalid. 

Applications for hemp, CBD, and medical and recreational cannabis business licenses in Mississippi are not currently being accepted.

Cannabis Business Licensing in Tennessee

Cannabis is illegal for both medical and recreational growth, distribution, and use in Tennessee. CBD extracts may be used, although current law does not allow for a state-regulated dispensary system. The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation is actively campaigning against legalization. A state marijuana tax stamp law is enacted, which mandates those who possess marijuana are legally required to purchase and affix state-issued stamps onto his or her contraband. Failure to do so may result in a fine and/or criminal sanction. 

The grocery chain, Kroger announced the week of June 25, 2019, that it will sell CBD products for human-only use at its stores in Tennessee, Kentucky, West Virginia, South Carolina and 13 other states. Topical products such as lotions, oils, balms and creams infused with hemp-derived CBD will be sold. Relating to CBD, the FDA published a consumer update in June, noting it is working to learn more about these products, including the safety and effect of the use on animals and the health benefits and effects for people. As a reminder, the FDA has only approved one CBD product thus far: Epidiolex, which treats a rare and severe form of epilepsy.

Applications for hemp, CBD, and medical and recreational cannabis business licenses are not currently being accepted.

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Cannabis Business Licensing in Alabama, Mississippi & Tennessee

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