Mississippi
General
Jun 2022
3 min

How to Start a Cannabis Business in Mississippi

Applications for cannabis business licenses in Mississippi open on June 1st, 2022.  Now is the time to get started.  But how?  Here we'll cover the steps for applying for a cannabis business license of each type in Mississippi, so you'll know everything you need to do, what forms need to be filled out, and what documents you'll need to have prepared to apply for a license, or multiple. Make sure to save this article because it has links for every regulatory board, regulation, form and operating plan that you need for your Mississippi cannabis business, all in one place. Having every step laid out will allow you to avoid making some of the most common mistakes made by cannabis entrepreneurs when starting a cannabis business in a newly legalized state.

In this article we cover these necessary steps for applying for a cannabis business license in Mississippi:

  1. Setting Up Your Organization Structure For The Application Process
  2. Registering your business with Mississippi Secretary of State's Office
  3. Mississippi Cannabis Regulations
  4. Required Forms
  5. Selecting a Location for The Business
  6. Background Checks
  7. Digital Photos
  8. City/County Approvals
  9. Required Waivers
  10. Utilities providers' data and approval
  11. Required Business Information
  12. Required Ownership Information
  13. Required Business Documentation
  14. Required Standard Operating Procedures
  15. Applying for Work Cards

computer keyboard close up with white keys and one blue key that says apply now

15 Steps to Applying for a Cannabis Business License in Mississippi

1. Set Up Your Organization Structure For The Application Process

Throughout the application process you'll have a lot of information, forms and other documents to keep track of. It'd imperative that you set up a folder structure on your desktop to keep everything in order. Reference this article to learn how to structure your application folder.

2. Register business with Mississippi Secretary of State's Office

Register as a corportaion, Inc. or LLC with the Mississippi Secretary of State's Office to get your business license and articles of organization or incorporation, here. No business ca apply for acannabis business license without first having a state business license.


3. Download and Review Mississippi Cannabis Regulations

The Mississippi Department of Health oversees Mississippi Medical Cannabis Program and cannabis businesses in Mississippi. The primary cannabis regulation in Mississippi is the Mississippi Medical Cannabis Act. Access the Mississippi cannabis business regulation here.

4. Download and Complete These Required Forms

These forms will be required for upload when you apply for your Mississippi Cannabis Business Licenses. Download each of these forms and save them in you rapplication folder. Reference this article for guidance on how to organize your application folder and prepare for the cannabis business licensing process.

5. Select a Location for The Cannabis Business(es)

You must select your location when applying so that you can have a site plan made and so you can complete the waiver of minimum distance requirements showing that the site follows the distance guidelines. Make sure that the count/city where you find a location allows cannabis businesses in their jurisdiction. Some jurisdiction in Mississippi have opted out of allowing cannabis businesses so signing a lease before checking with the jurisdiction could be a waste of some of your startup budget.

Distance Requirements
The Mississippi Medical Cannabis Act requires that a medical cannabis establishment, including cannabis transportation facilities, cannot be within 1,000 feet of the nearest property boundary line of a school, church or child care facility which exists or has acquired necessary real property for the operation of such facility before the date of the medical cannabis establishment application, unless the entity has received approval from the school, church or child care facility and received the applicable waiver from their licensing agency.

Even when a waiver is given by a church, school, or child care facility, the cannabis facility cannot be within 500 feet of the nearest property boundary of the school, church, or child care facility.

6. Background check for all owners and agents

Owners/agents who directly or indirectly own ten percent (10%) or more of a medical cannabis establishment must get a background check completed with the Mississippi Department of Health (MSDH). The MSDH Criminal History Fingerprint unit processes background checks for all Mississippi licensed Health Care and Child Care facilities. All background checks are processed through the Mississippi Department of Public Safety and are transmitted through the Mississippi Criminal Information Center and Federal Bureau of Investigation databases to complete the requirements for state and national background checks.


NAICS Facility Codes for Mississippi Cannabis Business License Types

  • Cultivator/Grower: 111419
  • Processor/Wholesaler: 424590
  • Transporter (local freight): 484200
  • Transporter (long distance): 484230
  • Testing Facility: 621511
  • Dispensary: 453998
  • Waste Disposal: 562211

7. Procure a Digital Photo

You'll need every agent (employee) and owner to have a digital photo. This photo may be required for the application information that the state asks for pertaining to each agent (employee) and owner. This photo will be needed for each agent (employee) and owner's work card application.

8. Check with your city and/or county for ordinances, required permits, & opt-out status

Someo f the localities in Mississippi have opted out of allowing cannabis businesses in their jurisdiction. Google "[CITY NAME] Mississippi [City Regulators]" and "[COUNTY NAME] Mississippi [County Regulators]" and find the contact information. Send them an email asking about cannabis business rules in the jurisdiction and who you need to speak with in order to get location approval. Receiving an official letter from them with the county/city seal and a signature from whoever approves the location is best practice. They'll be receiving a lot of messages from cannabis business applicants so keep the message short and to the point.

Example Message

Hello,

My name is {Name} and I am applying for a {cannabis business type} in {City or county name}. The address we are planning to use if approved is {insert address}. I'm reaching out to make sure that the jurisdiction is currently allowing cannabis businesses, and to connect with whoever is in charge of these types of approvals. Your assistance is greatly appreciated.

Thank you,

Name

Company Name

Email

Phone

9. Complete and sign waivers

These waivers in completion will be required for upload for cannabis business license applications. Save these to your application folder on your desktop.

10. Contact the local water, electricity and gas companies to acquire load data.

Cannabis businesses can create a burden on natural resources such as gas, water and electricity. Mississippi Department t of Health requires that cannabis business applicants get data from the natural resource providers about the resource load that the cannabis business may put on the natural resources in the area.

Google "[CITY/COUNTY NAME] Mississippi [Water Authority]" , "[CITY/COUNTY NAME] Mississippi [Gas Authority]" and "[CITY/COUNTY NAME] Mississippi [Electricity/Power Authority]"and find the contact information for each of these entities. Send them an email requesting load data, or to start the process of acquiring load data. They'll be receiving a lot of messages from cannabis business applicants so keep the message short and to the point.

Example Message:

Hello,

My name is {Name} and I am applying for a {cannabis business type} in {City or county name}. The address we are planning to use if approved is {insert address}. We have already received approval for location use by the {City and/or county regulatory board name}. I'm reaching out to start the process of acquiring the {water/gas/electricity} load data for this location. Your assistance is greatly appreciated.

Thank you,

Name

Company Name

Email

Phone

11. Business Information


Have the following business information prepared:

  • Business Name
  • Business Type
  • Trade Name (DBAs)
  • FEIN or Social Security Number (if sole proprietor)
  • Secretary of State ID
  • Date to begin hiring
  • Date licensure activities are scheduled to begin
  • Business phone number
  • Website (if applicable)
  • Business Email address
  • Physical address of business
  • Business mailing address
  • Primary business contact information (Name, title, phone, email, physical & mailing address)

12. Ownership Information

Have the following cannabis business owner information for each owner ready to go:

  • Name
  • Date of Birth
  • Social Security Number
  • Adjusted Gross Income
  • Primary Phone number
  • Email address
  • Percent of ownership
  • Physical address
  • Mailing address

13. Business Documents

Have the following business documentation ready:

  • Applicant Business Formation Documents  (this is your articles of incorporation and busines license)
  • Evidence of Local Approval - City or County  (reach out to your city or county for approval)
  • Inventory Control, Storage, and Diversion Prevention  (find those here)
  • Proficiency Testing (lab only)
  • Record Keeping   (Find this plan here: dispensary, cultivation, production)
  • Safety and Security Plans and Procedures  (Find this plan here: dispensary, cultivation, production)
  • Sampling & Testing (lab only)
  • Site Plan  (Have an architect do a site plan of your facility and the surrounding area including parking, property lines, waste dumpsters, and lighting)
  • Standard Operating Procedures (MSDH rules, title 15 part 22)

14. Acquire and Customize Cannabis Business Standard Operating Procedures

Here are all the Standard Operating Procedures You Need to Apply for a Cannabis Business License in Mississippi.  The linked plans we have available for you on leafsheets in a customizable format You can buy the plans, they're 90% of the way done, and then you add the state specific and business specific customizations using the DIY guides to teach you how to make the customizations along the way.

Standard Operating Procedures Needed for dispensary application

Standard Operating Procedures Needed for Cultivation/Grow Facility Applications

Standard Operating Procedures Needed for Processing/Production Facility Applications

15. Work Cards

Have each owner and agent (employee) apply for a work card. These cards are required for owning or operating a cannabis business.


Important Definitions Relating to Work Permits for Mississippi Cannabis Establishments

"Medical cannabis establishment agent"
An owner, officer, board member, employee, volunteer or agent of a medical cannabis establishment.

“Medical cannabis establishment employee"
Anyone who performs services for the medical cannabis establishment if the establishment controls what will be done and how it will be done, including independent contractors and volunteers. Control can include, but isn’t limited to, instructions on how work is to be done, direction on equipment to use to perform work, and training on required policies and procedures of the medical cannabis establishment.

“Work permit”
The official document issued by the Department that authorizes a person to be a Medical Cannabis Establishment Employee of a Medical Cannabis Establishment regulated by the Department.


Information Needed to Apply for a Work Permit for your Mississippi Cannabis Establishment

To apply, have the following information for each applicant, before applying:

  • Date of Birth
  • Social Security Number
  • DMV Issued ID
  • Primary Agent Role (i.e. "Employee")
  • Email Address
  • Phone number
  • Professional license, certification, or credentials (if applicable)
  • Physical Address
  • Mailing Address
  • Digital photo
  • Proof of MS Residency (if applicable)
  • DMV Issued ID
  • Proof of professional licensure (if applicable)

5 Key Collaborators for Completing The Mississippi Cannabis Business License Application Process

Real Estate Agent

The real estate agent or broker will help you find location for each of your cannabis businesses and help you ensure that the locations meet the state's distance requirements. They will also help you negotiate lease or purchase terms with the landlord.

Architect

The architect will develop your site planw hich is required for the application. They will collaborate with your team and the construction company to design a facility that works best for your business work flow and meets all state and local building codes.

Leafsheets

Leafsheets has all of the standard operating procedures you'll need ot meet the application requirements, as well as DIY guides so you can customize the documents for Mississippi rules and your business's specialized practices.

Legal Advisor

The legal advisor will act as an ally along the way.  You won’t need them to hold your hand but you will be able to use them when reviewing contracts and other legal documents.  They can also be helpful when you hit any hiccups with regulators on the city, county or state level.

Construction Company

While you work to get the best application possible together, your construction company will build out a construction budget and start planning for how to get your cannabis business chosen facility from where it is to where it needs to be for you to be able to open for business and start making money ASAP.

Conclusion

Applying for acannabis business license, or multiple, in a newly legalized state is exciting! The application process can often be more overwhelming than originally expected. Follow this guide and the process of applying for cannabis business licensure in Mississippi will be as smooth as possible. If you haven't started yet, getting all of the operating plans listed above will catch you up! If you have started the process but haven't yet found operating procedures, the operating documents above will help you finish off your application.

About Leafsheets

Leafsheets is a cannabis business support and acceleration platform that is breaking the barriers to entry and success in cannabis business by simplifying cannabis entrepreneurship.  Leafsheets provides vital operating plans, business information, and answers to the most pressing questions --- all of which are usually hard to access and require spending tens of thousands of dollars on consultants.  Not anymore!  Get everything you need to be 10 steps ahead.

Leafsheets is an experienced business advisor and not a legal advisor. For legal advice, consult with a licensed legal practitioner in your state.

Get Started Now

Leafsheets has you covered. Whether you're just getting started on your startup journey, are prepping a business plan for investors, or are up-leveling your operations game - Leafsheets has you covered. Find the operating documents you need to set a solid foundation for your cannabis business success. Start now!

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