How to Open a Dispensary in Mississippi

Posted on November 22nd, 2022 to Entrepreneurialism

Even though medical marijuana measures were passed in 2020 in Mississippi, the initiative was overturned in 2021. Thankfully, as of February 2022, state legislators finally agreed on a medical cannabis program for the state, and Senate Bill 2095 was signed into law by the governor. Therefore, there is no better time than right now to learn how to start a dispensary in Mississippi.

How to Open a Dispensary in Mississippi

The medical marijuana program in MS is overseen by the Mississippi State Department of Health and the Mississippi Department of Revenue (MS DoR). Because the Mississippi Medical Cannabis Act (MMCA) is so new, there may be changes to come as the new program deploys, and all information is not currently available because those plans simply have not been made yet. Therefore, it will be important for interested cannabis retailers to stay up to date on the latest information releases regarding opening a dispensary. Take a look at what may be required to open a medical cannabis business in MS.

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1. Get Familiar with State Requirements

As noted above, several aspects of the medical cannabis program are still being ironed out in MS. However, there are already quite a few regulations and laws going into place that will affect prospective cannabis business owners. The MS DoR has already laid out an extensive list of cannabis dispensary regulations that can affect things like:

  • Where a dispensary can be located
  • Building signage
  • What type of security systems are required in the storefront
  • Allowable hours of operation
  • What records you will be required to keep
  • How the cannabis dispensary can be marketed and advertised

2. Register with the Mississippi Secretary of State Office

Those who are interested in applying for a dispensary license in MS will be required to first register with the MS Secretary of State Office. During the registration process, you will select a NAICS Code that reflects what type of business licensure you are looking to obtain. The NAICS Code for cannabis dispensaries is 453998, and you will be using this code as you move forward in the application process to obtain your dispensary license.

3. Undergo a Background Check and Submit a Notarized Affidavit

Potential applicants who want to be part of the cannabis business in MS will be required to submit to a background check, which will require fingerprinting. Those interested in opening a dispensary will also have to submit a notarized affidavit to apply for a dispensary license. This affidavit is a sworn statement that declares that you have no prior convictions of violent crimes or felony-classified crimes associated with controlled substances in MS.

4. Create a Business Plan for the Medical Cannabis Dispensary

In order to apply for a Mississippi dispensary license, you will need to have an extensive business plan in place that you can submit along with your application to the MS DoR. The business plan should include items such as:

  • Names of all entities that will take part in managing the business
  • Either a sketch or map that shows the layout of the planned dispensary premises
  • Operating plans that explain how the business will comply with security, record-keeping, preventing unauthorized access, and more
  • Proof of authorization to use a certain address as a cannabis dispensary is the building will be leased

5. Apply for a License Through the MS Department of Revenue

All requested affidavits, proof of background check and fingerprinting, and other documents will have to be submitted to the Department of Revenue to complete your application process. The application fee for opening a medical cannabis dispensary in MS is $15,000, but you will also have to pay a $25,000 license fee at the time you submit your application. If the application is denied due to other licensed dispensaries being too close (within 1500 feet of the main entrance), both fees will be returned.

Important to Note: If an application is denied for other reasons, you may forfeit your application fee but the $25,000 license fee will be refunded.

Get Your Marketing Plan Prepared for Opening a Dispensary in MS

As you are learning how to get a dispensary license in MS, be sure to consider how you will set your establishment apart from the rest. Navigating the tricky marketing regulations with a medical dispensary can be difficult. At CannaPlanners, we can help you build a rock-solid marketing plan. Ready to talk?

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