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Grower ordered to destroy more than $1.4 million worth of pot plants after failing to follow regulations

Nov 1, 2022 | Media Partners, The GrowthOp

This post is presented by our media partner The Growth Op
View the original article here.

Cannabis cultivation was being done away from main site in outdoor hoop houses

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The alleged failure to follow regulations has ended with Mississippi State Department of Health ordering a large, licensed medical marijuana grower to destroy $US1 million (almost $1.4 million) worth of cannabis plants.

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Citing the department, High Times reports that Mockingbird Cannabis LLC was ordered to halt some operations and make improvements to one of the company’s cultivation sites.

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Recreational cannabis is illegal in Mississippi, though it has been decriminalized for possession of small amounts for personal use. A first offence involving grams or less “is punishable by a US$250 fine instead of jail time and a civil summons as opposed to arrest, as long as the offender provides proof of identity and a written promise to appear in court,” according to the Marijuana Policy Project.

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Medicinal marijuana, however, was given the green light in 2020 when voters voted “yes” to Initiative Measure No. 65 to allow the medicine for qualified patients with debilitating conditions.

That change came into force earlier this year, but regulated sales of medicinal cannabis are not expected to begin for several months.

Mockingbird Cannabis found itself in hot water after Mississippi Today published an article and photos last month showing that a company facility was not following state growing and security rules.

The publication reported the company had been growing plants in hoop houses and “without listing them in the state’s ‘seed-to-sale’ tracking system, at a secondary site” about 19 kilometres from its main operation near Raymond, Miss.

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It is alleged the cultivator used plastic- and cloth-covered greenhouse structures to begin cultivation operations despite Mississippi law requiring indoor growing, according to Cannabis Business Times.

Mississippi Today also noted that other cultivators were crying foul, since they had been informed that cannabis cultivation was limited to one site and outdoor greenhouses could not be used.

Although the company had been sent a letter to remedy the infractions, additional action was taken by the regulator in late October.

“There is an order in place where they have some halt on operations and some impact on their operations and some capital improvements they have to do to satisfy that corrective action,” Kris Jones Adcock, director of the Mississippi Medical Cannabis Program, reportedly said during a press conference.

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Although Adcock did not specify the exact number of plants involved, their value was more than $US1 million and may have amounted to about 5,000.

Mississippi Today reports that as of Oct. 27, state regulators had okayed medical cannabis licences for 406 patients, 117 practitioners, 138 dispensaries, 47 cultivators, eight processors, three disposal companies and two testing labs. As it stands, all licences are provisional and valid for 120 days.

Per Breezy News, although some of the first crops of medical marijuana are now being harvested, Adcock said related products won’t be delivered to the dispensaries before the end of this year or the first part of 2023.

We’d love to hear from you. Get in touch with feedback and story tips at thegrowthop@postmedia.com

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