I sound like a broken record, but I will say it again: To remain compliant in the cannabis industry requires an almost constant state of diligence. This point was reinforced earlier this month when the Mississippi Department of Health (MDOH) released a set of revised medical cannabis regulations. While many of the changes follow what the MDOH proposed last December, several are new. One such new rule involves the standard symbol that must be placed on edible cannabis product labeling and packaging, effective July 1, 2023. And, as proposed last December, the maximum quantity of usable medical cannabis that medical cannabis establishments can amass for testing as a “batch” has increased from 10 pounds to 25 pounds. Further, the testing regulations received perhaps the most significant set of amendments.

We summarize other notable changes below. But, going forward, if you do not already follow a strict policy of frequently checking in on the regulations governing this industry on the official, newish medical cannabis program website, https://www.mmcp.ms.gov/, you should. You cannot simply surrender to the flow.

Notable Changes to Cultivation Regulations

  • Changed the definition of “batch” to 25 pounds (was previously 10 pounds).
  • The definition of “cannabis waste” now includes “products and inventory from medical cannabis establishments that may be destroyed and/or rendered unrecognizable and unusable through disposal as a result of department corrective and/or administrative actions.”
  • Changes to the definition of “concentrate.”
  • “Enclosed” is defined to mean “surrounded by roof and walls permanently in place,” replacing the definition for “facility.”
  • New definitions for “biosecurity measures,” “indoor cannabis cultivation,” “plant waste,” “permanent,” and “secure.”
  • The term “plant waste” includes seeds, roots, stems, stalks, and fan leaves (not containing trichomes) that do not contain THC that shall be rendered unrecognizable via composting and disposal of by the cultivation license while under direct video surveillance.
  • Changes to employment practices SOPs requirements.
  • Adds a process through which a licensee can seek a “variance,” a mechanism that essentially gives licensees an opportunity to obtain permission to not follow all of the regulations.
  • Clarifies that separate licenses are required for transportation and cultivation.
  • Upon return of a license application, an applicant will have three opportunities for correction, after which the application will be denied.
  • Lack of plant/package tags and insufficient security measures are dangers to health and safety such that a provisional license may be improper.
  • If a licensed entity owes delinquent taxes but has entered into an agreement to repay those taxes, the entity will not be disqualified for a license based on the tax delinquency.
  • Delays in the construction of the cultivation facility can be an exception to the requirement that the licensee engage in licensed activity on the licensed premises within one year of license issuance to avoid facing suspension, revocation, or nonrenewal of license.
  • Must verify the implementation of biosecurity measures (defined term) before beginning operations, and all cultivation licensees must have biosecurity SOPs in place.
  • Employees must be entered into the state’s seed-to-sale tracking system within seven calendar days of their start dates.
  • All required records must be maintained onsite or electronically for MDOH review at the licensee’s address.
  • Replaces the requirement that cultivation facilities reconcile all product inventories each day in seed-to-sale tracking system with more general language requiring licensees to “ensure that all reporting into the Department approved statewide seed-to-sale system is clear, accurate, and transparent.”
  • Prohibiting any individual from residing at the same address and/or from living on the same property where the cannabis establishment is located and expressly prohibiting “home grow.”
  • Cannabis must be continuously and properly tagged (individually or as packages) at all stages of cultivation.
  • Must have a pest control and management plan in place at the premises.
  • New symbol that, as of July 1, 2023, must be on labeling and packaging of all usable medical cannabis being transferred to or sold to a medical cannabis dispensary.

  • All locations related to cultivation must be easily distinguishable in the statewide seed-to-sale system. Locations identified in the system must be designed to easily determine the location of inventory at all times and in accordance with the approved site plan of the medical cannabis establishment.muirmmms a regulated water system.
  • Revisions to how penalties will be assessed for violations.
  • Detailed administrative hearing process through which a licensee must go before going to court.

Notable Changes to Testing Facility Regulations

  • Expanded the definition of “batch” to now include no greater than 25 pounds (it was previously 10 pounds).
  • New/changed definitions of technical terms, such as “inclusivity,” “limit of quantitation,” “matrix spike sample,” “proficiency test,” “proficiency test sample,” and “process lot.”
  • Defines “infused cannabis products,” expressly excluding edible cannabis products.
  • New requirements that the lab’s full-time analyst (a) demonstrate an initial display of competency (defined term) before analyzing any sample; (b) complete a continuing demonstration of competency annually; and (c) run a specific analysis each calendar year.
  • New rule regarding testing of “cannabis-infused products.”
  • New changes to the sampling size requirements, and changes to the threshold requirement of what percentage of the sample must be homogenous.
  • The minimum requirements for potency testing have been changed to require the following be tested when testing potency:
    • Delta- 8-tetrahydrocannabinol;
    • Delta-8-tetrahydrocannabinol acid;
    • Delta-9-tetrahydroccaninol;
    • Delta-9-tetrahydrocoannibol acid;
    • Cannabidiol (CBD);
    • Cannabidiolic acid (CBDA);
    • THC content;
    • Cannabinol (CBN); and,
    • Any other cannabinoid determined by the MDOH.
  • Specifies that terpene analysis is only required if terpene content is listed on product packaging.
  • New SOP category: “Current step-by-step instructions with sufficient detail to perform the assay to include equipment operation and any abbreviated versions used by a testing analyst.”
  • Changes to quality control testing requirements.
  • New requirement that the testing lab develop, implement, and validate test methods for the analyses of samples, with specific guidelines for such outlined.
  • Testing facilities are only required to create a data package on request from the MDOH.

Notable Changes to Registry/ID Cards

  • Removes proof of residency requirements for registered qualifying patient ID cards, non-resident qualifying patient ID cards, and registered designated care giver ID cards.

Notable Changes to Advertising and Marketing Regulations

  • Restricts the use of pictures and/or images of cannabis and/or cannabis products to “patient education”.
  • New section on what exactly constitutes “patient education.”

Notable Changes to Work Permit Regulations

  • Removal of the term “agent” from substantive portions of regulations, though the term remains in the definitions section.
  • Changed the information and documents required for the renewal of a work permit.

Notable Changes to Processing Regulations

  • Changed the definition of “batch” to 25 pounds (was previously 10 pounds).
  • The definition of “cannabis waste” now includes “products and inventory from medical cannabis establishments that may be destroyed and/or rendered unrecognizable and unusable through disposal as a result of department corrective and/or administrative actions.”
  • “Enclosed” is defined to mean “surrounded by roof and walls permanently in place,” replacing the definition for “facility.”
  • New definitions for “biosecurity measures,” “indoor cannabis cultivation,” “plant waste,” “permanent,” and “secure.”
  • The term “plant waste” includes seeds, roots, stems, stalks, and fan leaves (not containing trichomes) that do not contain THC that shall be rendered unrecognizable via composting and disposal of by the cultivation license while under direct video surveillance.
  • Changes to employment practices SOPs requirements, and adds SOP requirements for disposal of plant waste under video surveillance and recall of cannabis and/or cannabis products.
  • Adds a process through which a licensee can seek a “variance,” a mechanism that essentially gives licensees an opportunity to obtain permission to not follow all of the regulations.
  • Clarifies that separate licenses are required for transportation and processing.
  • Upon return of a license application, an applicant will have three opportunities for correction, after which the application will be denied.
  • Must have a pest control and management plan in place at the premises.
  • New symbol that, as of July 1, 2023, must be on labeling and packaging of all edible cannabis products:

  • Edible cannabis products must, in addition to including net quantity or weight of contents on the labeling, include the associated MMCEU equivalency based on the weights of the contents on labels.
  • If a licensed entity owes delinquent taxes but has entered into an agreement to repay those taxes, the entity will not be disqualified for a license based on the tax delinquency.
  • Employees must be entered into the state’s seed-to-sale tracking system within seven calendar days of their start dates.
  • Replaces the requirement that processing facilities reconcile all product inventories each day in seed-to-sale tracking system with more general language requiring licensees to “ensure that all reporting into the Department approved statewide seed-to-sale system is clear, accurate, and transparent.”
  • All locations related to processing must be easily distinguishable in the statewide seed-to- sale system. Locations identified in the system must be designed to easily determine the location of inventory at all times and in accordance with the approved site plan of the medical cannabis establishment.
  • Revisions to how penalties will be assessed for violations.
  • Detailed administrative hearing process through which a licensee must go before going to court.
  • Requires that individuals with a work permit receive eight hours of continuing education relating to medical cannabis, and complete five hours of continuing education thereafter, before commencing work.
  • Same prohibition on individuals residing at the same address or living on same property where medical cannabis establishment is located.

Notable Changes to Transportation Regulations

  • Like in the cultivation and processing regulations, the MSDH is now proposing a process through which a transportation entity licensee can seek a “variance,” a mechanism that essentially gives licensees an opportunity to obtain permission to not follow all of the regulations.
  • Revisions to how penalties will be assessed for violations.
  • Detailed administrative hearing process through which a licensee must go before going to court, if a dispute arises between the licensee/applicant and the state regarding agency decisions.
  • Lack of plant/package tags and insufficient security measures are dangers to health and safety such that a provisional license may be improper.
  • The transportation entity must enter employee information in seed-to-sale tracking system within seven calendar days of employee start dates.

Notable Changes to Disposal Regulations

  • Operating plan must include the disposal of plant waste and cannabis waste removal under direct video surveillance.
  • The definition of “cannabis waste” now includes products and inventory from medical cannabis establishments that may be destroyed and/or rendered unrecognizable and unusable through disposal as a result of department corrective and/or administrative actions.
  • Changes to what is required for employment practices SOP.
  • Like in the other proposed regulations, the MSDH is now proposing a process through which a disposal entity licensee can seek a “variance,” a mechanism that essentially gives licensees an opportunity to obtain permission to not follow all of the regulations.
  • Revisions to how penalties will be assessed for violations.
  • New administrative hearing process through which a licensee must go before going to court, if a dispute arises between the licensee/applicant and the state regarding agency decisions.
  • Lack of plant/package tags and insufficient security measures are dangers to health and safety such that a provisional license may be improper.
  • All required records must be maintained onsite or electronically for MDOH review at licensee’s address.
  • The disposal entity must enter employee information in seed-to-sale tracking system within seven calendar days of employee start dates.
  • Disposal entity must ensure that employees receive an initial eight hours of training, and five hours of recurrent training, in specified topics within 30 calendar days of the date of hire.