One of the changes made by the House on Wednesday to the Mississippi Medical Cannabis Act of 2022 was the removal of any role by the state’s Department of Agriculture and Commerce (MDAC).
The decision comes after months of Commissioner Andy Gipson vocalizing his opposition to the legislature’s program.
At the end of September, Gipson told reporters that he wasn’t elected to be “a marijuana kingpin,” adding that three controlling agencies are “a recipe for inefficiency.”
During that same press conference, Gipson also said he will consider taking legal action against the state legislature if MDAC was included in the bill.
Relieving MDAC of any responsibilities leaves the entirety of the program on the shoulders of the Mississippi State Department of Health.
Here’s the statement released by Gipson on Thursday morning.
“I want to thank House Speaker Philip Gunn, Chairman Lee Yancey, and the Mississippi House of Representatives for removing the Mississippi Department of Agriculture and Commerce from the medical marijuana program. The best place for a truly medical program is under the Department of Health, which reflects the will of the voters in Initiative 65. This change is good policy for Mississippi agriculture and allows us to focus on our core mission. It is also good policy for the taxpayers of Mississippi because it achieves greater efficiency in the use of funds by reducing the number of agencies involved in the program. The Department of Agriculture remains committed to assisting the Department of Health on any technical issues that may arise in this program, just as we are committed to all of state government when we can be of help.”
Other amendments made to the bill were the maximum amount a person can receive per month (lessens from 3.5 ounces to 3 ounces), along with allowing dispensaries to be placed in commercial districts.