It is now legal to purchase medical marijuana in the State of Mississippi. This will bring relief to many who suffer from glaucoma, chronic pain and effects of chemotherapy. Here is how and where to get it.
- by Lisa Monti
Gina Pepe, owner and manager of Coast Cannabis, said the dispensary opened on Saturday, January 28, after receiving the first medical marijuana flower products from its Jackson cultivator. The store’s first sale that day was to a cancer patient from Pass Christian, Pepe said.
Coincidentally, Pepe added, Coast Cannabis was the first medical marijuana dispensary to be licensed by the state. She was working this week to get the waiting room decorated with marijuana products for sale. A gift bag filled with merchandise promoting Mockingbird Cannabis, the company in Jackson that sells its products to Coast Cannabis, among others, was on display. The Mockingbird’s space-themed motto is Enjoy Your Flight.
Eligible patients and licensed businesses have had to wait a few years to see the medical marijuana market open up. Mississippi voters approved the sale of medical marijuana in 2020, and the governor signed the Mississippi Medical Cannabis Act into law in February 2022.
The state Department of Health is the lead agency for the new program, and it handles licensing, regulating and enforcing laws for the required patient cards, medical practitioners, cannabis cultivators, processors, testing facilities, waste disposal companies, and transporters. The Alcoholic Beverage Control Enforcement Division of the Mississippi Department of Revenue is responsible for licensing and regulating dispensaries. There are six licensed dispensaries listed in Hancock County and about 150 statewide.
In order to receive an ID card to buy medical marijuana, patients must have a qualifying, debilitating medical condition certified by a medical cannabis practitioner with state credentials. Among the 30 or so conditions are cancer, Parkinson’s, Huntington’s disease, muscular dystrophy, and glaucoma.
Pepe, a Realtor/broker who lives in Pass Christian, said she was familiar with the benefits of medical marijuana because her mother used it for pain while being treated for cancer in Louisiana.
When Pepe learned that Mississippi had legalized medical marijuana, she started researching the process of opening a dispensary. “As a businesswoman, I thought it might be an interesting business to advocate for and to help people with all different illnesses and ailments,” she said. “I think a lot more people want to get off chemical pain medication, and marijuana is a great alternative.”
Coast Cannabis has four strains of marijuana of varying strengths in stock now. The marijuana flowers cost between $52 to $60 for one-eighth of an ounce.
Qualified patients can purchase up to 3.5 grams of cannabis flower or up to one gram of cannabis concentrate per day from licensed dispensaries, according to state regulations.
Pepe co-owns Coast Cannabis with John Arnold. The dispensary is in Suite 6 at 835 U.S. 90. Hours of operations are 10 am to 6 pm, Monday through Saturday. The telephone number is (228) 231-2221.
Diamond Leaf, a dispensary at 445 Yacht Club Drive in Diamondhead, is expected to open in about three weeks. Pepe and Arnold are part-owners, along with Karen Daniels.
The owner of Waveland Pharmacy, Rudy Letellier, is also opening a dispensary, aptly named The Pfarmacy Dispensary—yes, that’s the correct spelling. The Pfarmacy is located next to Waveland Pharmacy at 112 Auderer Boulevard and passed its state inspection on Monday, moving it one step closer to opening. Letellier said he is the only pharmacist in Mississippi with a licensed dispensary.
The Pfarmacy will sell products grown by Mockingbird Cannabis and “all the products needed to use it,” but it won’t open until all the products, such as edibles and vapes, are approved by the state. He said that’s likely to be “toward the end of February.” The Pfarmacy will be open from 10 am to 5 pm, Monday through Friday.
Another Hancock County dispensary, Mississippi Provisions, is set to open in about four months, after its building at 624 Highway 90 in Bay St. Louis is renovated, Steve Brooks, one of the owners, told the Shoofly.
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