Senator Kevin Blackwell of District 19 (Desoto/Marshall) has introduced Senate Bill 2765 which is a new “MMJ” bill coincidentally after the residents of MS got Initiative 65 passed which legalized MMJ. After the last 10 years of MMJ bills being introduced into MS legislation, Senator Blackwell magically found one? Not only did he find one but he has found one that his “good ole boy deep pocket buddies” have agreed upon. This is a pay to play for the big boys who only care about the $$$ and could care less about the patients. Senator Blackwell did not come up with this bill overnight. He was handed this by big Out-of-State operators that influence legislation to make medical programs unattainable by most.
In the United States, other Medical Marijuana programs mirror this structure, and the amount of red tape, fees, and politics drive the price up on licensees that then trickle down to the patients. It just does not work and the black market will continue. In fact, we know patients in bad programs who get their medical marijuana card, get the first initial bottle of high priced oil from the dispensary, and then continue to fill it with black market products. This way, they have everything that keeps them legal and there is no way for anyone to test if it is a legal/illegal/black market product. Can’t tax what you can’t see… Truth be told, the black market is better and bigger than ever, especially in States that have no MMJ programs and/or whose program has failed the patients. With legalization in multiple States, overflow products end up in MS, LA, and TN that the State does not ever get to tax. SB 2765 will only make the MS black market bigger. We have attached more of these bills stipulations at the bottom.
As we read through nonsense like this, we wonder where Mississippi would be if they regulated alcohol or tobacco similar to this bill?
- Allow only 5 Grow Licenses
- One dispensary license for each county. (MS has 82 counties) The department shall give additional consideration to multiple dispensaries in a county with a population exceeding thirty thousand (30,000)cultivation-processing facility license application fee shall be a nonrefundable fee of Two Hundred Thousand Dollars ($200,000.00), and the initial medical marijuana dispensary license fee shall be a nonrefundable fee of Twenty Thousand Dollars ($20,000.00). Each cultivation-processing facility shall be subject to an annual license renewal fee of One Hundred Thousand Dollars ($100,000.00). Each medical marijuana dispensary shall be subject to an annual license renewal fee of Ten Thousand Dollars ($10,000.00).
- Current resident of the State of Mississippi and has been a resident for five (5) consecutive years prior to the date of application as determined by this section;
- Has not been convicted of a felony offense
- Has no outstanding tax delinquencies owed to the State of Mississippi.
- The entity has at least one (1) owner who is an African American and one (1) owner who is a member of any other minority group as defined herein;
- The entity has owners with experience in managing and securing large quantities of cash and experience in operating regulated businesses with revenues exceeding Ten Million Dollars ($10,000,000.00) in the State of Mississippi within the last ten (10) years.
- A surety bond in the amount of Twenty Million Dollars ($20,000,000.00) and proof of at least Ten Million Dollars ($10,000,000.00) in liquid assets; and applicants for a dispensary license shall provide proof of assets or a surety bond in the amount of Two Hundred Fifty Thousand Dollars ($250,000.00) and proof of at least Five Hundred Thousand Dollars ($500,000.00) in liquid assets.
- A cultivation-processing facility shall collect and remit a special privilege tax of four percent (4%) from the gross receipts or gross proceeds derived from each sale of medical marijuana on forms and in a manner specified by the Commissioner of Revenue. A dispensary shall collect and remit a special privilege tax of ten percent (10%) from the gross receipts or gross proceeds derived from each sale of medical marijuana on forms and in a manner specified by the Commissioner of Revenue.
Make sure to check out the next blog: Does Smoking Hemp Get You High?