THE DOOR IS OPEN: Natchez Toke and Tell dispensary opens after setbacks
Published 7:22 pm Tuesday, June 20, 2023
NATCHEZ — Another Natchez dispensary has opened for the distribution of medical cannabis products to Mississippi patients.
The one catch is that their patients drive around back to get in.
Toke and Tell LLC, which has two dispensary locations in Natchez and Lorman, had a soft opening of its Natchez location last Thursday and will celebrate its grand opening with a ribbon cutting at 10 a.m. Wednesday, June 21, said the dispensaries’ owner Dr. Tina Bruce.
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Bruce, a licensed counselor who owns Bruce Professional Counseling Services, owns Toke and Tell LLC, at 55 Seargent S. Prentiss Drive Suite 102 in Trace Town Shopping Center as well as a second location at 2031 Ellisville Blvd., Laurel.
Bruce has previously said her experience as a counselor has opened her eyes to her patients’ need for more treatment options, particularly adults with PTSD, one of the pre-qualifying conditions for medical cannabis.
“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.”
Other conditions that qualify patients are cancer, Parkinson’s disease, Huntington’s disease, muscular dystrophy, glaucoma, spastic quadriplegia human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS), hepatitis, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, sickle-cell anemia, Alzheimer’s disease, agitation of dementia, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), autism, pain refractory to appropriate opioid management, diabetic/peripheral neuropathy, spinal cord disease or other severe injuries.
Bruce says that while she was the first to apply to the city planning department for a medical cannabis dispensary on June 15, 2022, a series of clerical issues thwarted her application and caused it not to be approved until October 2022.
When it was approved, she could only use the back door as the entrance because the building’s front door is less than 1,500 feet from another dispensary, The Highest Care at 131 Jeff Davis Suite D.
The city went as far as hiring Jordan Kaiser & Sessions to conduct a survey measuring the distance from one dispensary to the other, which found that the front door of Toke and Tell was less than the 1,500-foot requirement from The Highest Care’s, but the back door was not.
The State of Mississippi further approved the dispensary in November 2022, allowing Toke and Tell to open.
After the setbacks, Ebonee Johnson, operations manager at Toke and Tell in Natchez, said it feels good to finally be opening the doors to patients.
“We’ve had some obstacles we had to go through but I believe everything happens for a reason,” she said. “I’m glad we’re at this point now that all of our approvals and permits are ready for opening. … We believe it’s a good thing coming to Mississippi, let alone Adams County, and right now, there’s only a few of us.”
Business hours for Toke and Tell are 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., Monday through Saturday, she said.
“We try to put our patients first and go by their needs,” Johnson said. “We’ve had several different trainings that we’ve gone through on the strands of marijuana to help focus on the different points it can help you with. … Different strands hold different THC and CBD levels in the flower.”
The business has a color scheme of pink and green, with green representing the color of the marijuana leaf and pink representing its medicinal qualities, Johnson said.
In compliance with state requirements that prevent dispensaries from advertising, Johnson said news of the dispensary’s opening has mostly been shared by word of mouth, drawing a few interested patients who’ve received their medical cards.
“We’re planning an upcoming seminar soon to give more information out about medical marijuana,” Johnson said, adding details of the seminar are forthcoming.
The Laurel location for Toke and Tell will have its grand opening and ribbon cutting on Tuesday, June 27, at 1:30 p.m., said Briana Dean, operations manager of the Laurel location.
“In-store, we have flowers, concentrates and everything … gummies, vapes, pre-rolls and wax,” Dean said. “When you come in, the receptionist will check you in and make sure that you have a medical card and ID. After you are fully checked in, only then can you get to the display floor, where we have descriptions of each product. … We’re trying to make sure that we’re in compliance with literally everything.”
Dean said there are private consultation areas separated from the display room where patients can inquire about specific products for their condition. Accessories have also been ordered to use the products so that patients can get what they need in one location, she added.
“Our suppliers are from north Mississippi and all of our products have been lab tested and approved throughout the state,” she said. “One of our vendors has been growing for over 20 years and knows everything there is to know about the business. … Our team members (between two and three at each location) are close to us. Anyone who is hired has to go through the state for a work permit and it’s a tedious process.”
For more information on Toke and Tell and its products and services, visit tokeandtellms.com. Email questions to firstname.lastname@example.org or call 601-651-3050.