First medical marijuana harvest is underway in North Miss.

Published: Dec. 21, 2022 at 6:28 PM CST
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BATESVILLE, Miss. (WMC) - The first crop of medical cannabis is being harvested in Mississippi after the state’s Medical Cannabis Act was passed during the latest general assembly.

For growers like Todd Franklin, it’s been a long road to get to this harvest.

In the course of around 10 months, Franklin has gone from a vacant lot on his property outside of Batesville to 6,000 square feet of growing space.

“It’s been smooth sailing so far,” Franklin said.

Franklin and the company he co-owns, One Source Products LLC, is now just a few weeks away from sending what’s growing in their facility to dispensary shelves.

What’s next is having the marijuana tested by a lab.

“They’ll come out and take samples,” Franklin said. “They’ll send it up to the lab. The lab will test our samples and send us back a report, saying the THC level and the CBD level of every strain we have.”

Testing labs are very few in Mississippi.

The Mississippi Department of Health (MSDH) reports only three labs have been licensed in the state and only six transportation companies have been licensed to move the marijuana from growing sites to dispensaries.

The concern is that this will cause a bottlenecking of product from the 58 growers like Franklin.

Fortunately for him, he has that squared away.

Franklin says 40 dispensaries are on the waiting list for his product and he estimates it’ll be mid-January when they’ll have it.

“They can’t open without our product,” he said.

“We’ve got a lot of ordering to do,” said Kathleen Self, co-owner of Evergreen Dispensary.

Self and her soon-to-open dispensary Evergreen Dispensary off Highway 278, also in Batesville, will be one of the businesses getting product from Franklin.

So far, there have been 79 dispensaries approved by the state with another 40 being processed.

Evergreen has made significant progress since we saw them in early November when Self and her partners first bought the building.

“We basically live at Lowe’s,” Self said with a laugh. “We’re getting a little done every day.”

Self hopes Evergreen will be open in mid-January, just in time to receive Franklin’s product.

Already, Evergreen has implemented several security features to ensure safety and privacy for patients coming through the doors.

“Bars put on all the windows and doors, security on the back doors, and we’re also going to have a huge camera system,” Self said. “We also have a massive safe that all of our product will go into every evening.”

Since purchasing the building, Self says there have been positive reactions from the community, and she feels it will be an asset to the people of Batesville and surrounding counties.

Right now, MSDH reports 903 patients have been approved and licensed through the state, with 615 more being processed.

It’s anticipated that number will rise significantly after the product is on dispensary shelves.

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