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Louisiana’s Medical Cannabis Program Expansion, Mississippi’s Legalization Roadblocks, & Colorado’s Industry Records

Cesar Gallegos

by Cesar Gallegos

January 14, 2022 08:00 am ET Estimated Read Time: 3 Minutes

Louisiana’s medical cannabis expansion has gotten mixed reviews, Mississippi’s proposed legalization legislation may be too good to be true, and Colorado cemented its position as a cannabis giant. 

Let’s dive into this week’s cannanews.

Louisiana Patients, Law Enforcement Navigate Flower Legalization

The Bayou State’s medical cannabis program brought in the new year with a bang. As of Jan. 1, Louisiana medical cannabis patients can now buy raw cannabis flower from one of the state’s nine dispensaries. Though this expansion is only a couple of days old at this point, it is already raising a number of questions and concerns from law enforcement and patients alike. 

Police are unsure how to properly navigate this new legal purgatory. Though cannabis flower is now allowed for qualified patients, its federal illegality makes it tricky to regulate. For now, Louisiana police have settled on treating flower like any other prescription drug. As Calcasieu County Sheriff Tony Mancuso explains, that means that “…all medications (ie. flower) should be kept in their original bottles, with the prescription [and] the name of the person who the medicine is for in their possession.”

Patients, meanwhile, have been frustrated by how expensive flower has been at launch. In New Orleans, for example, an eighth of flower can cost a customer as much as $80. Nevertheless, Republican State Rep. Tanner Magee, the person behind the program’s expansion, says consumers should practice some patience. “It’s the first day, but I’m going to monitor it and see if there needs to be adjustments moving forward,” Magee said in a recent interview.

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Mississippi’s Newly Introduced Legalization Bill Already in Peril

Mississippi is giving medical cannabis another shot! A medical marijuana bill was introduced to the state’s legislature earlier this week. If the bill passes, a medical cannabis program could be up and running by the end of the year. 

While an announcement like this would usually be met with excitement, there is reason to be doubtful. After all, Mississippi’s Supreme Court already overturned of a voter-backed legalization initiative back in 2020. This time around, it seems that Gov. Tate Reeves may be the roadblock to legalization. 

The governor’s main issue with the proposed legalization bill is that it allows consumers to purchase too much cannabis at once. In its current form, the legalization bill allows patients to buy 3.5 grams of cannabis flower, 1 gram of concentrate, or up to 100 milligrams of THC-infused products per day. The governor has stated that he will veto the bill unless it cuts its proposed purchasing limits in half.

Colorado Cannabis Industry Reaches New High

The Centennial State’s cannabis industry just had its best year yet! In 2021 Colorado collected $423 million in total cannabis tax revenue. This continues Colorado’s hot run of cannabis sales, beating 2020’s record tax revenue of $387 million.

Colorado has now collected over $2 billion in taxes and made $12 billion in total cannabis sales since 2014. With this year’s revenues, Colorado has cemented itself as a U.S. cannabis giant—trailing only Washington ($3 billion) and California ($3.1 billion) in tax revenue accumulated since 2014.

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