On February 2, 2022, Mississippi Governor Tate Reeves signed the Mississippi Medical Cannabis Act, legalizing medical marijuana. With this development, Mississippi joins many other states that have legalized cannabis for medical use. The Law is effective immediately.
The Law, among other things, establishes a tiered medical marijuana program consisting of cultivators, processors, testing facilities, research facilities, transporters, dispensaries, and disposal entities. The Law authorizes additional agency regulation by the Mississippi Department of Health (MDOH) and Mississippi Department of Revenue (MDOR), prohibits outdoor growing, permits smoking of medical cannabis, allows counties and municipalities to opt out of the program, imposes state sales and excise taxes, and provides certain safe harbor protections to employers and financial institutions.
In order to use medical cannabis, an individual must be diagnosed by a physician as having a debilitating medical condition, receive written certification of such diagnosis from the practitioner, and have been issued an ID card from the MDOH. Notably, continued usage requires six-month follow-up visits to evaluate treatment.
The Law is generally employer friendly and does not contain an anti-discrimination provision for medical marijuana cardholders. The Law specifically states that it does not:
- Require an employer to permit, accommodate, or allow medical use of cannabis, or modify working conditions due to such use;
- Prohibit an employer from hiring, discharging, disciplining, or taking another employment action based on that individual’s use of medical cannabis;
- Prohibit or limit drug testing policies;
- Interfere with any federal restrictions or requirements such as certain Department of Transportation regulations;
- Allow adverse employment action against an employer by an employee based on an employment action tied to the employee’s use of medical cannabis;
- Impact an employer’s workers’ compensation premium discount due to having a drug-free workplace program; or
- Impact an employer’s workers’ compensation defense due to a positive drug test or a refusal to submit to a drug test.
The foregoing commentary is not offered as legal advice but is instead offered for informational purposes. First Advantage is not a law firm and does not offer legal advice. The foregoing commentary is therefore not intended as a substitute for the legal advice of an attorney knowledgeable of the user’s individual circumstances or to provide legal advice. First Advantage makes no assurances regarding the accuracy, completeness, currency, or utility of the following information. Regulatory developments and impacts are continuing to evolve in this area.