Toke and Tell dispensary gets state, city approval

Published 1:59 pm Wednesday, November 9, 2022

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NATCHEZ — The Mississippi State Department of Health has approved its second dispensary for Adams County.

Tina Bruce, a licensed counselor who owns Bruce Professional Counseling Services, owns Toke and Tell LLC, which will open at 55 Seargent S. Prentiss Drive in Trace Town Shopping Center.

However, Bruce’s proposed dispensary location and its approval by the Natchez Planning Commission are controversial.

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Bruce said the application with the state was approved on Oct. 23.

“We will have products on hand soon,” Bruce said. “I expect we will open the first of January.”

She said, as a counselor, she sees the need for more options for her patients.

“I’ve been working as a licensed professional counselor and supervisor and in dealing with patients who have PTSD, and I think adults will benefit from this resource,” Bruce said. “I think this will be a positive thing going forward. I think Cannabis will be great for the patients.”

The Natchez Planning Commission at its meeting on Oct. 20, approved a special exception to the city’s ordinance governing where medical marijuana dispensaries can locate.

State law requires 1,500 feet between such dispensaries. However, the front door of Bruce’s proposed location in Trace Town to the front door of where The Highest Care dispensary will locate at 131 Jeff Davis Blvd Suite D l locate is less than 1,500. The planning commission voted 6 to 0 to allow Bruce to use instead the back entrance of her building rather than the front, which a survey showed meets the 1,500 feet requirement.

Planning commissions who voted in favor of the special exception for Bruce include Cheryl Rinehart, Charles Harris, Deborah Martin, Emma Rose Jackson, Marsha McCullough, and Mildred Chapman.

Planning commissioners who were absent, thereby not voting on the measure, were Butch Johnson and Jonathan Smith.

The city’s planner, Frankie LeGaux, recommended to the planning commission that they table the issue until it received more information.

However, Bruce told commissioners she would close off the current front entrance to her location, and customers could use the back door.

Others who operate businesses at 55 Seargent S. Prentiss have expressed concern. There is no parking at the back of the building and no sidewalk or appropriate lighting.

“The city has approved the zoning ordinance that allows dispensaries as long as they are approved by the state and the planning commission,” said Natchez Mayor Dan Gibson. “It was approved by a unanimous vote of the commission. I see it as being very unlikely the board of aldermen will take any action on this matter.”