“Can a caregiver buy medical marijuana in Mississippi?” This question is becoming increasingly relevant as medical marijuana gains acceptance across the United States as a legitimate form of treatment for various health conditions. Mississippi is one of the states that has embraced the use of medical marijuana, allowing patients to access this alternative medicine. However, not all patients are capable of procuring their own medical cannabis. This is where caregivers come into play.
In this blog, we will delve into the role of medical marijuana caregivers in Mississippi, the process of becoming one, and the specifics of their responsibilities.
Is Medical Marijuana Legal in Mississippi?
On January 26, 2022, the Mississippi Legislature approved the Mississippi Medical Cannabis Act (SB 2095), which was sponsored by Sen. Kevin Blackwell. This law was created to establish a medical cannabis program, and Governor Tate Reeves (R) officially made it a law on February 2, 2022.
Under the Mississippi Medicinal Cannabis Act, medical cannabis is now an option for individuals who meet specific criteria. This transformative legislation provides a lifeline for those grappling with debilitating medical conditions such as cancer, Parkinson’s disease, Huntington’s disease, muscular dystrophy, and individuals enduring pain.
What Is a Medical Marijuana Caregiver in Mississippi?
A medical marijuana caregiver in Mississippi is an individual who must be at least 21 years old and plays a pivotal role in assisting qualified patients with their medical marijuana treatment. These caregivers are responsible for procuring medical cannabis products from state-licensed dispensaries on behalf of the patients they serve. Furthermore, they take on the crucial task of preparing and administering these medical marijuana products to eligible patients.
According to Section 2(p)(ii) of the Mississippi Medical Cannabis Act, medical marijuana caregivers are limited to assisting up to five registered qualifying patients with their medical marijuana needs at any given time. However, an exception allows them to provide care for more than five patients if those patients are either admitted to the same healthcare facilities or reside in facilities that offer daycare or residential services where the caregivers are employed. It’s noteworthy that while medical marijuana caregivers are optional for adult patients, they are mandatory for medical marijuana patients under the age of 18.
A fundamental component of a caregiver’s responsibilities is their legal authority to purchase and possess medical marijuana on behalf of their qualified patients. This legal authorization is referred to as a caregiver referral and signifies a significant level of trust between the patient and their caregiver. Caregivers often serve as not just the patient’s legal escort but also as their advocate, ensuring that their medical needs are met effectively. The eligibility to become a caregiver extends to individuals with medical power of attorney, the patient’s parents, or the patient’s legal guardian, who can step into this important role.
Can a Caregiver Buy Medical Marijuana In Mississippi?
Becoming a medical marijuana caregiver in Mississippi is a process that involves several key steps. These steps ensure that caregivers meet the necessary criteria and are well-prepared for their responsibilities. Here are the requirements for prospective caregivers:
- Residency Requirement: Caregivers must be residents of Mississippi. This requirement ensures that caregivers are familiar with state laws and regulations, enhancing their ability to serve patients effectively.
- Age Requirement: Prospective caregivers must be at least 21 years of age. This age restriction aligns with the legal drinking age in Mississippi and is intended to ensure that caregivers are mature and responsible individuals.
- Criminal History Check: Individuals applying to be caregivers must not have been convicted of disqualifying criminal convictions in the five years preceding their application dates. This check helps maintain the integrity of the medical marijuana program and ensures the safety of patients.
- Professional Licenses: Caregivers should have their professional licenses in good standing, if applicable. This requirement helps ensure that caregivers possess the necessary qualifications to assist patients.
- No Prior Revoked Licenses: Individuals should not have previously held licenses or cards indicating participation in the Mississippi Medical Marijuana Program, nor should they have revoked licenses from other states’ medical marijuana programs. This ensures that caregivers have a clean record and haven’t violated medical marijuana regulations elsewhere.
Once these requirements are met, prospective caregivers can begin their registration via the Mississippi Medical Cannabis Program Portal, the gateway to becoming an official medical marijuana caregiver. Successful registrants will receive emails guiding them through identity verification and expressing their intent to participate in the state’s medical cannabis program. The approval of caregiver applications is overseen by the Mississippi State Department of Health (MSDH), with a user-friendly guide available to assist applicants in navigating the portal.
The caregiver application fee in Mississippi stands at $25 annually, and caregivers may undergo background checks, costing $37, unless they are caring for close relatives. During this process, caregivers should expect a 30-day waiting period for their applications to be reviewed. It is essential to remain patient during this period, allowing authorities to complete the necessary checks and verifications.
What is the Limit on Cultivating Marijuana Plants for Caregivers in Mississippi?
In the state of Mississippi, medical marijuana caregivers do not have the option to engage in the cultivation of marijuana plants for the benefit of their patients. This is clearly outlined in Section 23 of the Mississippi Medical Cannabis Act, which explicitly declares that growing marijuana, except by licensed medical cannabis establishments, is strictly prohibited.
Nevertheless, caregivers in Mississippi play a pivotal role in the acquisition and administration of medical marijuana products for the patients under their care. While the Medical Cannabis Act does not specify the exact quantity of medical marijuana caregivers can possess, specific limits are set for medical marijuana patients themselves. In Mississippi, a qualified medical marijuana patient is allowed to hold a maximum of 6 Mississippi Medical Cannabis Equivalency Units (MMCEUs) of allowable cannabis for 7 days, or 24 MMCEUs for 30 days.
To put these figures into context, 1 MMCEU corresponds to:
- 3.5 grams of medical cannabis flower
- 1 gram of medical cannabis concentrate
- 100 milligrams of THC found in a marijuana-infused product
In conclusion, when it comes to the question, ‘Can a caregiver buy medical marijuana in Mississippi,’ it’s evident that caregivers in the state play an essential role in the medical marijuana program. They serve as advocates and legal escorts for patients who require assistance in accessing and using medical cannabis. Becoming a caregiver involves meeting specific criteria, passing background checks, and paying necessary fees. While caregivers are not permitted to cultivate marijuana plants, they are crucial in facilitating access to medical marijuana products for the patients they serve.
It’s important to note that, in accordance with Mississippi state law, caregivers are legally permitted to enter a medical cannabis dispensary and purchase products on behalf of the patient, even when the patient is not present. The work of caregivers in Mississippi is a testament to the state’s commitment to providing alternative treatments for those in need.