Webinar Transcript: Mississippi Medical Marijuana Applications

Lisa
July 15, 2022

Writing & Submitting a Winning License Application

Timeline & Recap

  • First passed via referendum in November 2020, but overturned by the Mississippi Supreme Court on questionable grounds 
  • Then passed legislatively in February 2022 when Governor Tate Reeves signed the Mississippi Medical Cannabis Act 
  • 2 Departments: The Mississippi Department of Revenue (the MDOR) will issue medical cannabis dispensary licenses, with the Mississippi Department of Health (MDOH) issuing all other license types.
  • Regulations for dispensing came out in May, and were last updated on June 24, 2022 
  • Regulations for cultivation and processing were finalized in early June 2022
  • For license applications 
    • The cultivation application window opened June 1 (with no set closing date)  
    • The dispensary application window opened July 1 (with no set closing date)  
    • The window for all other application types opened June 1 (with no set closing date)
  • Per the statute, licenses will be awarded within 30 days of submission
  • MSDH STARTED APPROVING APPLICATIONS ON JULY 5TH 
  • The MSDH website says: “Medical cannabis products availability: MSDH anticipates that cannabis products will become available to patients in late 2022 to allow time for cultivation of marijuana in the state and required safety testing.”
    • Seems quick: Once licenses are awarded, cultivation licensees will buildout their facilities, which usually takes at least 6 to 12 months. Once they begin operations, it takes 4 months before the cannabis is ready to sell. Dispensaries will also need to be licensed and operational. 

Content from our July 12, 2022, Mississippi Licensing Webinar

Watch the video recording or read the details from the webinar in the sections below.

Administrative Application / Submission Information

Applications are Available Now

  • Cultivation, Processing, Testing, Waste Disposal, Transportation 
  • Dispensing 
  • Vertical licensing is not required or barred,
  • No individual or entity may have a direct or indirect ownership or economic interest of more than 10% in more than one cultivation facility license, one processing facility license, or more than five dispensary licenses 

Style of Application Process

  • Open window, no set close date
  • No limit on the number of licenses at the state level 
  • Local jurisdictions could have opted out and that window passed and can set time/manner/place restrictions 

Length  & Formatting:

  • Use  whatever is standard for your business, with no state limits or restrictions
    • This makes it hard to know how much is enough 
    • Don’t inundate graders or deliver frivolous fluff 
    • Watchout: Don’t want to miss points or be disqualified or asked to cure for not providing sufficient responses 
  • Make sure it's easily readable and professionally formatted 

Background Checks Required

  • Send fingerprints to the Department of Health—required for all employees and persons with an economic interest 
  • Also required, an affidavit stating you have not been convicted of a disqualifying felony offense

 

 

Application Components: Mississippi Medical Marijuana License

Financials & Market

Financial Pans are explicitly required for Cultivation and Manufacturing license applications. But, they are not mentioned in the Dispensary application 

Tax Registration 

Applicants are required to obtain applicable tax permits as part of the application process. There are two taxes associated with the sale of medical cannabis. 

  1. Medical cannabis cultivators are subject to a 5% excise tax on the first sale/transfer of medical cannabis.
  2. Medical cannabis dispensaries will charge the standard 7% sales tax to cardholders at the point of sale.
  3. Dispensaries are also responsible for special tax levies in the cities of Jackson & Tupelo.

Property 

Lock it down. Having your property secured is required. Must provide:

  • Proof of authorization to occupy the property for the proposed dispensary
  • Floor plan sketch or construction plan, zoning, and distance survey

Pay attention to local zoning and ordinances.

Distancing for Cannabis Businesses in Mississippi

Any cannabis facility must be at least 1,000 feet from schools, churches, and daycares. Waivers to lower this distance are a possibility down to 500 feet.

Dispensaries must be at least 1,500 feet from each other.

Experience / Team for Your Cannabis Business

Specific qualifications are required for cultivation, processing, and dispensing. Do not underestimate or skimp on this requirement. 

Local Approval

  • Local jurisdictions can require an approval or registration at the local level
  • Make sure your targeted location accepts cannabis businesses 
  • Get connected to the local government and community organizations

 

What Are the Steps from Application to Opening?

  1. Apply
  2. Wait for Award
  3. Continue Business Planning / Preparation
  4. Get Approval
  5. Build Your Facility
  6. Start Operations

 

Substantive Application Sections / Narratives

Cultivation Licenses

6 tiers -- ranging from up to 2,000 square feet to 100,000 square feet, plus micro-cultivators

Manufacturing Licenses

Micro Option 1: under 2,000 pounds of biomass annually ($5,500 in application and licensing fees)

Micro Option 2: from 2,000 - 3,000 pounds ($7,500 in application and licensing fees)

Standard Option: no less than 3,000 pounds ($35,000 in application and licensing fees)

20 Application Narrative Sections

  1. Business Plan and Management Profile
  2. Regulatory Compliance Plan
  3. Business and Financial Plan
  4. Operating Plan Summary & Qualifications
  5. Safety and Security Plans and Procedures
  6. Business Experience

plus 14 various detailed Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs)

Dispensing Licenses & Applications

There are no tiers, but there are distance requirements of being 1,500 feet from other dispensaries.

This crucial detail limits opportunity and makes locking down your location and property ASAP even more important.

Application Narrative and Compliance Requirements

An operating plan that demonstrates compliance with applicable laws and rules regarding:

  1. Security
  2. Employee qualifications (including background checks, and training)
  3. Record-keeping systems
  4. Hours of operation
  5. Preventing non-cardholders under the age of 21 from entering the licensed premises
  6. Preventing non-cardholders from obtaining or attempting to obtain any items sold by the dispensary

 

Other License Application Types in Mississippi

Testing, Waste Disposal, and Transportation Licenses

Applications opened on June 1, 2022, with no set close date.

How to Get Ahead in License Application & Approval

While the process isn’t technically competitive with a limited number of licenses, it IS complex.

There is a substantial amount of writing and the process is more difficult than might appear on the surface.

Your application could get rejected for simple or minor deficiencies.

Also, the are benefits to submitting as soon as possible now that the application windows are open. Being first to market gives you an opportunity to refine your processes and establish your customer base and customer loyalty before your competition arrives on the scene.

One significant advantage to submitting your license application and getting approval early is ensuring the viability of your location and property. If a competitor submits before you do and their location is within 1,500 feet of your designated property, you will have to start over with your property and search for an alternate location because of distance restrictions.

 

Whether you need help with only one or two elements of your application or you need help with every step, our license application experts know what it takes and can help you get there faster and with accuracy.

 

 

 

 

Contact our Mississippi license application experts today

Our team has helped cannabis entrepreneurs win licenses and start their businesses in 33 states and internationally.

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