First Gulf Coast Cannabis Festival draws big crowd to Biloxi

Organizers said the purpose of the festival is to celebrate the healing power of the cannabis plant.
Published: Apr. 23, 2022 at 10:14 PM CDT
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BILOXI, Miss. (WLOX) - The first Gulf Coast Cannabis Festival drew hundreds to The District Green in downtown Biloxi.

Not so coincidentally, the event came on the heels of the state legalizing medical marijuana.

The battle isn’t completely over.

Organizers said the purpose of the festival is to celebrate the healing power of the cannabis plant.

Those attending said it’s about time.

“I’m very excited for it, just like I hope everyone else is,” said Andie Snelgrove of Gulfport. “It was definitely something we really needed down here.”

For Snelgrove, legalizing medical marijuana is just the first step toward complete legalization.

“We would go beyond what we have here,” she said. “Everything that would be built. Money coming in is the main thing. I think we would have so much more coming in recreational-wise.”

The medical use isn’t a done deal yet. Cities and counties have until May 3 to opt out.

So far on the Coast, Pass Christian, Lucedale and George County have shut the door on dispensaries.

“It’s unfortunate because their citizens are having to go without medicine,” said Shea Dobson with Citizens Alliance of Mississippi. “You know, this is a health care program. I can’t imagine why anybody would want to restrict health care to their residents.”

One group, Local Opt In, wants to put those decisions to a vote.

“I can assure you that wherever they do decide to opt out, there will be a movement of citizens and volunteers that immediately springs up to start collecting these petitions wherever it happens,” said Jonathan Brown of Local Opt In. “Because the patients of this state need this medicine.”

The festival was a chance for supporters of both medical and recreational marijuana to browse the multiple vendors on the grounds and to get educated on everything from business and law to jobs and careers.

It brought Adrianne Burke, owner of Yoga on the Land, all the way from Washington D.C.

“In D.C., we have seen the rise of medical card usage, the rise in de-criminalization, changing the laws,” she said. “And I’m so excited to see the potential for the same to happen in Mississippi. So, I’m here to support that.”

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