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The law went into effect immediately after it was signed by the governor, although medical cannabis won`t be available for months. States with medical cannabis laws typically have some form of patient registry that can provide some protection from arrest for possession up to a certain amount of personal medical use products. NON-MEDICAL/ADULT UPDATE: As of May 27, 2022, 19 states, two territories, and the District of Columbia have adopted measures to regulate cannabis for non-medical purposes for adults. At the federal level, cannabis remains classified as a Schedule I substance under the Controlled Substances Act, Schedule I substances have a high addictive potential and no accepted medical uses, making the distribution of cannabis a federal offence. In October 2009, the Obama administration sent a memo to federal prosecutors urging them not to prosecute people who distribute cannabis for medical purposes in accordance with state law. HC`s Compassionate Care Act covers a variety of conditions, including epilepsy, autism, PTSD, and severe or persistent nausea. Marijuana in its raw form is not available under the law. The law also includes guidelines that require physicians to submit a written treatment plan for their patients that addresses medical history, history of addiction or addiction. It`s an important step that comes as lawmakers in several other states, including South Carolina and Tennessee, propose measures to create a legal framework that allows people with certain types of medical conditions to purchase limited amounts of cannabis or cannabis-infused products to treat their symptoms. * The non-medical use measure was declared unconstitutional on February 9, 2021. Marijuana reform has been slow to take shape in much of the South compared to other parts of the country, where laws legalizing recreational or medical marijuana have been in place for nearly a decade. About 31 percent of U.S. adults say medical marijuana should be legal and about 60 percent say recreational and medical marijuana should be legalized, according to an April 2021 study by the Pew Research Center.

Caldwell experienced first-hand momentum during his years as a supporter of marijuana reform in Louisiana, one of the first Southern states along with Arkansas to legalize medical cannabis in 2016. The program got off to a slow start and remains one of the most restrictive in the United States, with only nine dispensaries and two licensed producers in the United States. In November 2020, 74% of Mississippi voters approved a program (Initiative 65) that would allow people with certain medical conditions to purchase cannabis to treat their symptoms. The program also did not set a limit on the number of companies allowed to produce, grow and distribute products. However, the effort was overturned by the Mississippi Supreme Court in May 2021, leaving the future of the program in the hands of state lawmakers. Voters in Arizona and the District of Columbia passed initiatives to authorize medical use, but reversed it. In 1998, voters in the District of Columbia passed Initiative 59. However, Congress prevented the initiative from becoming law.

In 2009, Congress reversed its previous decision and allowed the initiative to become law. The CD Council then temporarily suspended Initiative 59 and unanimously approved legislative amendments. By June, the Mississippi State Department of Health plans to accept online license applications for patients, doctors and grow facilities. Under Mississippi law, you can certainly still have a drug testing policy. And as we see above, Mississippi law would allow an employer to refuse to hire, discipline or fire an employee for marijuana use, even if prescribed by a medical provider. You may want to talk to your medical examination department about whether staff should disclose medical marijuana use like any other prescription drug. Employers should continue to have a non-discriminatory policy when conducting drug testing and keep an eye on the need to take reasonable precautions. It also imposes what some advocates call unnecessary barriers, such as requiring chronic pain patients to prove that opioids and other pharmaceutical alternatives were ineffective before they were allowed to participate. Doctors must pay a fee of up to $300 to certify patients and complete a four-hour medical education course on medical cannabis. A 14-member commission will oversee the implementation of the program and coordinate with the Alabama Medical Examiners Council to work with participating physicians.

In South Carolina, advocates have been trying for years to rally support for a comprehensive medical marijuana program.

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