Don’t Tell Me This Town Ain’t Got No Heart: Mississippi’s Attorney General Opines on a City’s Ability to Regulate Medical Cannabis Businesses

Don’t Tell Me This Town Ain’t Got No Heart: Mississippi’s Attorney General Opines on a City’s Ability to Regulate Medical Cannabis Businesses
CANNANNEW REPORT

AUTHORS Slates C. Veazey, Whitt Steineker & Jonathan M. Barnes April 21, 2022 What promises to be the first of a litany of legal interpretations of the new Mississippi Medical Cannabis Act (MMCA), Attorney General Lynn Fitch released an official attorney general’s opinion on April 15, 2022, regarding the scope of a municipality’s ability to locally regulate medical cannabis establishment operations through zoning or ordinances. Fitch, applying a fairly straightforward interpretation of the MMCA’s language, concluded that cities that have not opted out of the medical cannabis program have some freedom to limit medical cannabis business operations. The opinion warned, several times, that such limitations cannot “have the purpose or effect of prohibiting or making impracticable the operation of such establishments within the City.” The opinion responds to several questions posed by Darren Musselwhite, the mayor of Southaven, Mississippi. First, Musselwhite asked whether Southaven could prohibit a dispensary, cannabis research facility, or cannabis testing facility from locating in a commercial zone or within a zone in which commercial use is not prohibited or already exists. Fitch concluded that a municipality cannot prohibit medical cannabis establishments from operating in the city. Evaluating the text of the MMCA, Mississippi’s general zoning statutes, and analogizing a prior opinion about local zoning of gambling activities, Fitch opined that a municipality’s “limited regulatory power” under the MMCA allows the city to designate specific types of commercial zones or zones in which commercial use is otherwise authorized or not prohibited, as long as doing so does not have the purpose or effect of prohibiting or making impracticable the operation of such establishments within the city. For example, the opinion found that a city could restrict or limit the location of medical cannabis dispensaries to specific types of commercial zones through local zoning ordinances that follow a comprehensive zoning plan, such as a medical commercial zone.…

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Source : Don’t Tell Me This Town Ain’t Got No Heart: Mississippi’s Attorney General Opines on a City’s Ability to Regulate Medical Cannabis Businesses

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