by Hunter Dawkins, Publisher – editor@thegazebogazette.com

On a motion to table for review and ultimately “opt-out” of the Mississippi Medical Cannabis Act, the city of Long Beach chose to not second the motion which defeated the attempt to stop the new state law.  As other cities have done throughout the state, Long Beach Ward 2 Alderman Bernie Parker made the motion at Tuesday night’s Board of Aldermen meeting after hearing a few legal items from the city’s counsel.  Unless the city makes any changes, medical marijuana will be legal in Long Beach, May 2, 2022.

Long Beach’s City Attorney Steve Simpson informed the board the bill; which was signed by Governor Tate Reeves in early February, had a few reservations, but the deadline to “opt-out” for a municipality would be on May 2.

“The state Department of Health is responsible for issuing certain licenses and regulations while the Department of Revenue has the responsibility of fees and taxes,” said Simpson, addressing the Board before any action was taken.  “Very detailed legislation on specific requirements for people and businesses.”

Additionally, Simpson informed the board at the May 3 board meeting, the planning commission minutes for recommendations of medical marijuana dispensaries, should be ratified to allow these businesses permits if they are within compliance.

According to the legislation, these dispensaries need to be a certain distance from schools, churches, and other community entities to be allowed a permit from the building code office.  Before any business attempts to gain a business license from the city, the dispensary needs to have a license from the state department of health.

Long Beach Mayor George Bass and Ward 1 Alderman Patrick Bennett were both absent for personal reasons, but Alderman-at-Large and Mayor Pro-Tem Donald Frazer spoke wholeheartedly on the measure.  “We have had numerous public hearings on the matter and have discussed this even before the legislative session.  We are hoping to give everyone that truly needs this access.”

Senate Bill 2095; aka “the medical marijuana bill,” proclaims upon a prescription from a licensed physician that an individual can receive 3 ounces per month, medical professional can only prescribe within the scope of his/her practice, child under 18 can only be prescribed by an MD or DO with parental consent, 18-25 by an MD or DO, MSDH will regulate packaging and advertising, no incentives from the Mississippi Development Authority, and protects churches and schools from at least 1000 feet from marijuana business dispensaries.

The city of Long Beach planning commission will have to amend the Zoning Ordinance 598 to adapt to these changes of the Medical Marijuana Act for the city to be in compliance and start distributing business licenses if the city plans to adhere.