Medical marijuana testing facilities get approval as patients keep waiting for products

Published: Jan. 13, 2023 at 7:03 PM CST
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JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - The final link in the chain for getting medical marijuana out to Mississippians is being added this week.

We’ve shown you medical marijuana growing. The last hurdle to clear before it goes up for sale? Testing. Steep Hill Mississippi is one of two labs to get that clearance. Now...

“We have picked up flowers today, we just don’t have any in the lab yet,” explained Steep Hill Mississippi CEO Mark Henderson. “So, starting next week, we’ll be testing for our customers, and doing the best we can to get them out just as soon as we can.”

While it’s the last step, it’s an important one for safety.

“We actually encourage customers to go through and look to see what labs are testing it, and you’re looking for accuracy,” noted Henderson. “You what you don’t want is a customer to ever get surprised by what it is that they’ve got.”

Stephanie Gray had never thought about medical marijuana till she was diagnosed with a rare liver cancer in 2019, the same year Mississippians voted on the alternative treatment.

“People say, well, you don’t look sick,” said Stephanie Gray. “Well, I mean, this is I am sick. And I do need, you know, this help. And there’s this, you know, relief, you know, from another product that’s just not so harsh on my body.”

Despite the waiting, she remains hopeful.

“I’ve already got my card approved,” said Gray. “I’m just waiting for them to activate our cards you know. I want to be one of the first ones there to start getting some relief and some help.”

She and her husband Michael are starting GreenWise which will initially have three dispensary locations. That waiting game is a costly one with a full staff, buildings, security systems, and taxes to pay, to name a few...but no money coming in yet. And they plan to still delay the opening.

“I can’t open my doors because we only have 1,700 patients,” explained Michael Gray, GreenWise Director of Operations. “We got 82 counties, 150 plus or minus dispensaries. So, that’s 15 or 20 customers if we’re lucky, per dispensary. I can’t staff that I can’t put people in a store and hope they have one customer today. It’s just not a good business move. So, we’re waiting on the patient count to come up.”

Potential patients are encouraged to go ahead and start the process of getting certified, even if dispensaries in their area don’t plan to have product right away.

If you need more details on how to complete the application, the Mississippi Cannabis Patients Alliance has a step-by-step guide HERE.

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