Adams County opted in by default to allow medical marijuana businesses

Published 2:14 pm Wednesday, May 4, 2022

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NATCHEZ — Tuesday at 5 p.m. was the deadline for Mississippi’s local governments to decide whether they would fully or partially opt in or opt out of allowing the cultivation, transportation or sale of medical marijuana within their communities.

Once opted out, local governments could still opt in if the governing body decides to change course. However, those who let the deadline pass are opted in by default and there is no turning back after that.

Adams County never opted out.

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“If you look back at how Adams County voted on Initiative 65, over 75 percent of the population was in favor. I let that be my lead,” said Wes Middleton, president of the Adams County Board of Supervisors.

The City of Natchez did choose to opt in. However, the Board of Aldermen voted last month to create a medical district and isolate medical marijuana dispensaries to one part of the city around Merit Health Natchez hospital, the area of Jeff Davis Boulevard known as Doctor’s Row, Highland Boulevard and the former Tracetown Shopping Center area.

“The board has been on record and said they would allow medical marijuana. However, it would be their preference that it be limited to a ‘medical district,'” Natchez Mayor Dan Gibson said. “As a result, they have instructed the city attorney to work with the interim city planner to prepare a map of the proposed medical district. … We are waiting on that report and then the board, I’m sure, will proceed with further action.”

By June 2, the Mississippi State Department of Health is expected to have created rules and regulations that govern all medical marijuana license types, except dispensaries.

By July 2, the Department of Revenue will have created similar requirements for dispensaries.

The Clarion-Ledger reported the following governments in Mississippi opted out, however, the decision can still be reversed by their leadership.

Counties that opted out: Calhoun, George, Lauderdale, Lincoln, Leflore, Newton, Neshoba, Pontotoc, Tippah and Pearl River.

Cities that opted out: Amory, Brandon, Clinton, Ecru, Flora, Gluckstadt, Greenwood, Horn Lake, Lucedale, Madison, Noxapater, New Albany, Pass Christian, Pontotoc, Ridgeland, Southaven and Sumrall.