Mississippi Medical Weed Grower Toss $1 Million Worth Of Plants
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Mississippi Medical Weed Grower Toss $1 Million Worth Of Plants

Mississippi’s medical marijuana regulators announced that Mockingbird Cannabis LLC, the largest licensed cannabis grower, was to be shut down and ordered to destroy thousands of plants valued at approximately $1 million. This was due to his failure to comply with regulations. According to the Mississippi State Department of Health, Mockingbird Cannabis LLC was also ordered to stop operations and make improvements at one of its cultivation sites. Mississippi voters approved Initiative Measure 65 to legalize medical marijuana in 2020. However, regulated sales of medicinal marijuana are not expected to start until the early part of next year. Mississippi Today published photographs and an article about a Mockingbird facility that was cultivating cannabis in a way that is against state regulations. Mockingbird was reportedly growing cannabis plants in hoop houses 12 miles away from its main facility. The company failed to register the plants at the site in the state’s seed–to-sale tracking program and failed to maintain the required security standards. Mockingbird officials claimed that the facility had approximately 20,000 plants. The health department responded by sending a letter to the company indicating the corrective actions to be taken, but declining to answer any questions. Competing medical cannabis growers protested, arguing Mockingbird was allowed to grow medical marijuana in violation of regulations. This gives the company an advantage as the regulated market is about to launch. Competing cultivators had reportedly been told that growing operations must be limited to one site and could not take place in greenhouses.Mississippi Regulators Issue SanctionsOn Thursday, Kris Jones Adcock, the director of the Mississippi Medical Cannabis Program, announced that further action had been taken against Mockingbird by state regulators.”There is an order in place where they have some halt on operations and some impact on their operations and some capital improvements they have to do to satisfy that corrective action,” Adcock said at a press conference on Thursday. “They also had the need to destroy a number of plants from their inventory… I don’t know the exact figure, but there was upwards of $1million of inventory destroyed — right around 5,000 plants.” Marcy Croft, co-founder of Mockingbird, declined to answer questions about Thursday’s actions by the department. However, the health department reported that the state’s medical marijuana program is still in its provisional phase. It has only three staff members and no investigators. Dr. Dan Edney, the State Health Officer, stated that he believes that significant amounts of marijuana are being kept out of the illicit market. He also said that the department’s top priority is to prevent diversion. Edney stated that nine additional staff members will be hired by November, and that they will contract with private companies to assist with compliance. “We won’t be able to get it to zero, but that is what we are doing to the best of our ability under the regulatory authority we have.” Next year, Mississippi’s medical marijuana program will be available for sale. Edney said that state regulators provided an update on the progress of the program’s rollout. The measure was approved nearly two years ago by voters through Initiated Measure65. Officials stated that although progress is being made on the program’s rollout, dispensary sales of medicinal marijuana will not begin until the early 2023. Edney stated that all of the approved businesses have been issued temporary licenses. These licenses are valid for 120-days and allow state regulators monitor the businesses before issuing long-term licenses. “We are seeing an increase in the number and interest in the program every day. We also see an increase in the number and quality of patients who are interested in it every day.” Edney stated that the agency has been regulating the industry since the beginning and will continue to do so.

 

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