Dozens of cannabis growers approved in MS, one step closer to product on dispensary shelves

Published: Oct. 3, 2022 at 6:53 PM CDT
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PANOLA COUNTY, Miss. (WMC) - A handful of cannabis growers in North Mississippi are among dozens now approved for their license to grow medical cannabis, but not without having bumps along the way.

Growers now have a lot of work to do before product will appear on dispensary shelves.

When Todd Franklin applied for his cannabis cultivators license with the Mississippi Department of Health (MSDH) as part of the state’s new medical cannabis program, he expected to be approved by July - not long after Action News 5 visited his Panola County property.

He ended up waiting over two more months after that, finally getting approved on Sept.12.

“It was awful,” Franklin said with a chuckle. “Weeks of misery.”

After getting work permits and the approval to grow, Franklin and his team with One Source Products LLC overnighted their seeds from seed bank contacts across the country.

It’s been nonstop work since.

“Very busy,” said Franklin. “We’re trying to get seeds in the ground, germinated, repotted, replanted... It’s a joy. A big joy!”

So far, Franklin is one of 38 cultivators that have been approved by MSDH, and only a handful of those growers are in North Mississippi.

Franklin says his 6,000-square-foot growing and processing facility is one of the biggest in the area, with layers of security to keep the process safe in and out.

When reporters went back out to see Franklin, his new plants were a little over a week old. They will be matured after another three to four weeks.

“Once we harvest, we’ve got about two weeks of drying time, and once the product is dried, then it’ll be shipped to the dispensary,” said Franklin.

Other numbers from MSDH say 53 business licenses have been approved, with another 41 being processed, and only one has been denied so far.

There have also been 367 work permits approved, with 50 still processing and two denied.

Franklin is still waiting for his processing license to be approved so he can make cannabis oil to be shipped out to dispensaries.

For now, Franklin is thankful he has cannabis to plant.

“We’re just so excited to be able to plant, to get this far, and to be able to know that now we can get the product to patients,” Franklin said.

Dispensaries have “lined up,” according to Franklin.

If all goes according to plan, he says his first batch of product will be ready to ship out by late December.

“To me, it means a lot, just being able to help the patients out there,” Franklin said. “that’s the one reason that we went into it was for patients.”

On the medical side of the business, 83 practitioners have been approved to prescribe cannabis to patients, with 36 in the processing phase and five having been denied.

249 patients have been approved with another 286 waiting to be approved, but this small number is because there currently are no dispensaries open. Even if they were, there are no products to go on their shelves.

Patient applications are expected to ramp up once that happens, and it’s been said that Mississippi’s cannabis program will mirror that of Arkansas’s, which at the start of this year had 79,000 patients.

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