A medical marijuana caregiver is a person who is at least 21 years of age and assists a qualified cannabis patient with medical marijuana use. In Mississippi, medical marijuana caregivers obtain medical cannabis products from licensed dispensaries on behalf of the patients they serve. They also prepare and administer medical marijuana products to qualified medical marijuana patients in their care.
Per Section 2(p)(ii) of the Mississippi Medical Cannabis Act, medical marijuana caregivers may only help up to five registered qualifying patients with the medical use of marijuana per time. However, they may have more than five patients in their care if they (patients) are admitted to the same health care facilities or reside in facilities providing daycare or residential services where the caregivers work. In Mississippi, an individual can serve as a medical marijuana caregiver for a family member. Medical marijuana patients under the age of 18 require caregivers, but these assistants are optional for adult patients.
Persons who wish to become medical marijuana caregivers in Mississippi must register through the Mississippi Medical Cannabis Program Portal. Such individuals must:
Once prospective marijuana caregivers in Mississippi submit their registration information on the Medical Cannabis Registration Portal, they will receive emails requiring them to verify their identities and intention to join the state's medical cannabis program. After verification, they can start their applications by returning and logging onto the portal. The Mississippi State Department of Health (MSDH) is responsible for approving caregivers' applications and provides a user guide on navigating the Mississippi Medical Cannabis Program Portal.
The caregiver application fee in Mississippi is $25 per year. Background checks by the Mississippi Department of Public Safety (DPS), which cost $37, are required for prospective caregivers unless they will be serving close relatives. There is a 30-day wait time for reviewing a caregiver's completed application.
Medical marijuana patients in Mississippi are responsible for selecting caregivers, who must be state residents, to help them with the use of medical marijuana. The state does not have a database or registry of medical marijuana caregivers. Typically, a patient cannot designate more than one medical marijuana caregiver unless the patient is an adult with a developmental or intellectual disability making caring for themselves without help challenging. In such a situation, the designated caregivers must either be the parents or legal guardians of the patient. Medical marijuana patients admitted to hospice programs in Mississippi can also designate more than one medical marijuana caregiver.
Caregivers in Mississippi may purchase medical marijuana products from state-licensed dispensaries for the patients they serve, but the Medical Cannabis Act does not clearly state how much they can have. However, a medical marijuana patient can only possess a maximum of 6 Mississippi Medical Cannabis Equivalency Units (MMCEUs) of allowable cannabis for 7 days or 24 MMCEUs for 30 days. In Mississippi, 1 MMCEU is equivalent to:
Mississippi does not have a possession limit on non-consumable medical marijuana products such as lotions, soaps, ointments, and other topical agents.
In Mississippi, medical marijuana caregivers are not permitted to cultivate marijuana plants for medical cannabis patients. Section 23 of the Mississippi Medical Cannabis Act stipulates explicitly that marijuana cultivation by persons or entities other than licensed medical cannabis establishments is unlawful.