May 3 marked the deadline for counties and municipalities to decide whether they would host medical cannabis businesses within their jurisdictions, and 10 counties and 17 cities ultimately opted out, according to the Clarion Ledger.
Mississippi’s medical cannabis law, which Gov. Tate Reeves signed into law in February, allowed counties and municipalities to opt out within three months of the legislation being signed into law, setting the opt-out deadline as May 3.
Residents can then petition for a local election to overturn their city’s decision, and the Mississippi Cannabis Trade Association has been holding signature drives in municipalities that have opted out of the program to give voters a chance to opt back in.
City and county leaders can also choose to opt back in at any time.
Communities that took no action to opt out by the May 3 deadline are automatically considered part of the medical cannabis program, the Clarion Ledger reported.
Leaders in communities that ultimately opted out voiced a variety of reasons why they made that decision, including concerns about how the program would be regulated, its impact on public safety and law enforcement, and zoning issues, according to the Clarion Ledger.
For communities that plan to host the medical cannabis industry, dispensaries must be more than 1,000 feet away from churches, schools and daycares, and cannabis retailers cannot be located within 1,500 feet of each other, the news outlet reported.
The Mississippi counties that have opted out of the program, according to the Clarion Ledger, are:
- Pearl River
The municipalities that have opted out are:
- Horn Lake
- New Albany
- Pass Christian