Vendors Wait For Medical Marijuana To Finally Be Legalized In Mississippi | New
Robert Thames was diagnosed with lung cancer at the end of 2014. Since then he has been in remission several times but is now in stage 4 of the disease. The Belden-area resident, for the past two months, has been a regular customer of The Green Guys Dispensary in Saltillo, where he purchases his CBD (cannabidiol) to help relieve his insomnia. “I take opiates for the pain,” said Thames, 63. But what he really wants to see is medical marijuana finally legalized in Mississippi; it was approved by 74 percent of voters in the November 2020 election, but was rejected by the Mississippi Supreme Court in May due to a problem with the state’s constitution. Its future is unknown as the legislature grapples with a solution to the dilemma. The Thames believes that legalizing medical marijuana will help alleviate some of his pain so that he can less depend on highly addictive opiate drugs. CBD is a product of the hemp plant related to marijuana. It doesn’t produce a “high” like genuine marijuana does, but does offer some of the other benefits of the still illegal plant. According to Mark Cash, owner of The Green Guys, some of his CBD customers use it to reduce their anxiety. It was legalized in Mississippi two years ago. Cash opened the dispensary in January with the intention of being able to distribute medical marijuana once it was legalized. Caleb Bedford anticipated the same when he opened The Fox Den on South Gloster Street in April. The two men, and possibly dozens of other store owners across Mississippi, now rely on CBD, vaping supplies and other products to keep their doors open while the medical marijuana problem is resolved. “When it was over,” Bedford said, “I thought there was no way I couldn’t get in.” Now, he says, it’s a matter of waiting. Bedford said he suffered from PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) as a result of personal tragedies in recent years; he tried to relieve it with the use of marijuana but he was fed up with the high. When he discovered CBD, he relieved his PTSD in a safer way. “I can’t believe 74% of voters approved it and the legislature won’t act on it.” Bedford and Cash offer several forms of CBD: oils, edibles, flowers (the buds of the hemp plant), lotions and bath “bombs”, which are added to bathwater and allowed to penetrate the skin. CBD products should contain less than 0.3% THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), which is the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana and produces the high. Chronic pain patients like Thames are in a similar situation to dispensary owners. They face more serious issues, however, as the medical marijuana problem is brought up in Jackson: “I would prefer medical marijuana, but CBD is the only legal choice at this point,” said Thames. “Medical marijuana should be available for compassionate reasons. Thames takes his quest for marijuana a step further: “I would also support (legalize) recreational marijuana,” he said.