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Medical Cannabis Research Facility Could Come to Mississippi: #MSLeg Roundup

Mississippi could soon have a medical cannabis research program at the University of Mississippi’s National Center for Cannabis Research and Education under a bill that earned approval in both chambers of the Legislature last month.

Senate Bill 2888 would create the Mississippi Medical Cannabis Research Program and allow the use of state, federal and private funds to pay for the research “related to the efficacy and potential health effects of various cannabis delivery methods, including vaporizing, ingesting, topical application and combustion,” the bill says.

Through various methods, scientists would study how medical cannabis can treat the medical conditions of patients who volunteer to participate in the program. UM’s current center tests cannabis on both humans and animals, but S.B. 2888 does not call for animal testing in its program.

“This sets up a research facility that’ll actually be able to take up cohorts of patients with similar disease structures, try to identify what therapies they’ve been on, the effectiveness of those, so that eventually down the road we can set parameters for recommendations of cannabis for patients with certain illnesses,” Sen. Kevin Blackwell said on the Senate floor on March 14 when introducing the bill.

UM’s current research partially focuses on developing pharmaceutical products that contain cannabis and can treat patients. The center does not have much information about how smoking cannabis can affect a patient, so S.B. 2888 would help improve knowledge on its effects.

UM already grows its own cannabis to research at the center, but a licensed Mississippi medical-cannabis cultivation company would provide cannabis samples for the medical-cannabis researchers to test, the bill says.

The legislation would require researchers to share their conclusions with medical professionals, lawmakers and the public. The bill would also create the Medical Cannabis Research Advisory Board to monitor and help with the research and its funding.

The Senate passed S.B. 2888 on March 14 by a 43-9 vote, and the House approved it on March 29 with a 106-10 vote.

The bill heads to Gov. Tate Reeves’ desk where he can choose to sign it into law, veto it or allow it

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