Mississippi cannabis laws are officially updated: Medical cannabis sales are legal and as of January 2023, approved patients have access. According to Weedmaps, three dispensaries are open for business as of early January 2023. As an aspiring Mississippi cannabis entrepreneur interested in starting a cannabis business in Mississippi, read on to find out what you need to know about acquiring a Mississippi cannabis license and moving forward with your business plan.
Mississippi cannabis laws
According to Weedmaps, three dispensaries are open for business as of early January 2023. However, this is just the beginning for the Mississippi cannabis market. In a recent media briefing, Mississippi officials said the state has issued provisional Mississippi cannabis licenses to:
- 138 dispensaries
- eight processors
- four transportation entities
- three disposal companies (required under Mississippi cannabis laws)
- two testing labs
- 491 work permits
According to the 2022 MJBiz Factbook, Mississippi cannabis sales are expected to reach $265 million in 2023 and $800 million by the industry’s fourth year.
- Flowood (opted in for research)
- Horn Lake
- New Albany
- North Carrollton (opted in for dispensaries, out for cultivation)
- Pass Christian
- Winona (opted in for dispensaries, out for processing and cultivation)
- Jones (opted in for cultivation, out for processing and dispensaries)
- Madison (out for dispensaries, in for cultivation, processing and distribution)
- Montgomery (out for dispensaries, in for processing and cultivation)
- Pearl River
Keep in mind the cities and counties that opted out may opt to allow cannabis businesses in the future. Under Mississippi cannabis laws, each city and county may hold an election or a vote by its governing bodies to permit legal cannabis-related operations. In fact, this has already happened twice: the cities of Iuka and Philadelphia initially opted out, but after conducting research and public discussions, opted back in.
It’s also important to remember that although individual cities and counties may opt out, medical cannabis is legal for approved patients to use and possess throughout the state. Similarly, medical practitioners may register to participate in the Mississippi medical cannabis program regardless of their practice location.
Mississippi cannabis license
So how can you acquire a Mississippi cannabis license and start your business? That depends on the type of business you plan to operate. Take time to familiarize yourself with the regulations in place for your business category. For example, dispensaries need to comply with the following regulations:
- A security plan must be in place when submitting the license application
- A fully operational security alarm system with 24-hour a day video surveillance must be in place
- At least one authorized representative must be physically present when open
- A conspicuous exterior sign identifying the name of the entity that owns the dispensary and lists its Department-issued license number
- Cannabis products of cannabis flower or trim offered must contain no more than 30% total THC; cannabis tinctures, oils and concentrates of no more than 60% total THC, and edible cannabis products of no more than 60% total THC
- No sale of items such as, but is not limited to, clothing, food that does not contain cannabis, beverages that do not contain cannabis, propane or butane, and vaping products that do not contain cannabis
- Procedures to report medical cannabis dispensing information every twenty-four (24) hours to the Prescription Monitoring Program must be in place
- Employees must complete eight (8) hours of education related to medical cannabis
- Records maintenance in physical and/or electronic format for a minimum of three (3) years
7 tips to start a Mississippi cannabis business
The application and approval process can take some time, so if you’ve got your business plan and compliance steps in place, make it a priority to submit your application as soon as you can. As you wait for the green light, start building interest and brand recognition for your new business. Here are a few strategies you can use regardless of how close you are to starting a cannabis business in Mississippi:
- If you haven’t already, purchase a domain name (or multiple options) for your business, set up at least one company email address, put up a coming soon page with contact info and/or start building your website, create social media accounts, and register your business with Google Business Profile and Bing Places.
- Participate in philanthropic programs within your community. Connecting with customers and potential customers in a non-commercial setting will build name recognition and keep your brand top of mind.
- Start a blog and/or a video series. While some people enjoy reading longform blogs, others prefer video. By embracing both, you can connect with both kinds of consumers. Cover topics your followers care about! By blogging and/or producing video content, you can educate your followers, inspire them and build a personal connection.
- Speak at seminars. Or, if you’re not much of a public speaker, have a member of your team speak at in-person seminars, webinars or make guest appearances on podcasts. This achieves two things:
- It keeps you and your brand top of mind
- It establishes you as an authority in the industry
- It puts you in contact with other industry leaders, people who could be collaborators in the future
- Launch backlinks. Backlinks are links on other websites that link back to your site. This drives traffic to your site and improves your SEO ranking.
- Host an event. Ideas for events include open forums for interested newbies, competitive games with similar businesses, and sponsored outings that facilitate networking and thoughtful discussion.
- Finally, update your website regularly! This not only helps your SEO ranking; It generates traffic, trust, and interest in your brand.
Starting a cannabis business in Mississippi?
Need an idea to start your blog or video series? Looking to connect with other Mississippi cannabis business owners? Attend CannaCon, the nation’s leading business-to-business cannabis conference. It’s the perfect place for any cannabis entrepreneur to connect, network, market, and learn how to grow their business. Cannabis South will be in Mississippi Feb. 24-25 in Biloxi! Don’t miss it.