The Magnolia State has taken one more step towards helping people who qualify for a Mississippi Marijuana Card, as a cannabis testing facility has begun the process of becoming accredited under the state’s medical marijuana law.
And while the lab has ties to an international organization, its president is a pharmacist licensed in multiple states, including Mississippi, who has been named one of the state’s top entrepreneurs by Mississippi Business Journal.
But this development isn’t just another landmark on the state’s road to medical marijuana; it’s also another reminder of both the steps taken under the law to ensure the safety of medical marijuana here and the economic benefits Mississippi stands to gain now that it has finally embraced this safe, effective medicine.
Mississippi Medical Marijuana Law Demands High Quality Control, Starting With Testing Labs
We told you last month about the strict standards in the state’s medical marijuana law meant to ensure the purity and safety of the medicine produced here. We also told you that those standards included a strict accreditation process for would-be cannabis testing facilities, to be sure the chemical profile of each medical marijuana product is accurately labeled and safe for patients.
Now we’ve learned that a company called Steep Hill Mississippi (SHM) is the first lab to begin that complicated accreditation process. SHM is a licensee of a larger corporation, Steep Hill. SuperTalk Mississippi Media reports that Steep Hill is one of the oldest marijuana testing companies in the nation, with licensed labs in nine states, Canada, and Mexico. Now the company has licensed SHM to use its name and technology in a lab being built in Jackson.
Jackson-Based Lab Overseen by Mississippi Entrepreneur, Pharmacist
While SHM may have connections with a larger, international organization, its president and co-founder has extensive ties right here in Mississippi.
Cliff Osbon has worked in pharmacies in Mississippi for more than thirty years, including fifteen years as president of Transcript Pharmacy in Flowood. He was also named one of the state’s top entrepreneurs by Mississippi Business Journal.
Now Osbon is looking to combine his pharmaceutical and business experience with his staunch support for medical marijuana to help improve the lives of suffering patients in Mississippi.
New Lab Means Big Investment in Mississippi
Medical marijuana means big business and big investments for the states and communities that welcome it, as we told you about back in March. SHM is no exception, and establishing the new lab will mean revenue and new jobs for Jackson.
“We are finalizing our instrument order,” Osbon told WLBT, Jackson’s NBC affiliate. “There’s a lot of testing instruments that you have to order for testing. And since the state published the testing regulations a couple of weeks ago, now we know what to buy, we know how to spend that million dollars or whatever that number is and then we’re close to finalizing our decision on a lead chemist who will manage our facility and help hire the rest of the staff. After we’ve done all those things and spent all that money and invested that time and energy, then we will apply for a license with the state,” Osbon said.
Lab’s Development Predates Mississippi Medical Marijuana Law
Osbon told SuperTalk that SHM has been in the planning stages since before the state’s medical marijuana law, back before the state Supreme Court overturned Initiative 65, the medical marijuana ballot initiative that was overwhelmingly passed by voters here in 2020.
“I had been committed through the initial ballot initiative in 2020,” he said, “and when the Supreme Court struck that down, we were just organizing a group of investors to operate a testing lab. Even though the Supreme Court struck that down, we continued to negotiate with Steep Hill… to license their name and testing methodologies and be the exclusive licensee in Mississippi.”
Now the year SHM spent laying the groundwork for their lab has left them in a prime position as the first lab to begin accreditation, and thus most likely the first lab to get it.
More Than Money, Medical Marijuana is About Offering Relief
Of course the economic benefits aren’t the most important blessing of medical marijuana; that would be the relief it can offer to suffering patients who can’t find any other way to lessen their symptoms. It’s something Osbon has witnessed first hand as a pharmacist.
“In pharmacy practice, for years I saw people that needed something else that we didn’t have,” Osbon told WLBT. “And while medical marijuana is not a panacea, it doesn’t solve every problem, it is a great option for some patients that they just haven’t had. I would say now, but really soon, soon later this year, they’ll have that option,” Osbon said.
“As a pharmacist, I’m thankful that patients have that additional option. Medical marijuana is a helpful product to a lot of patients,” Osbon told SuperTalk. “It’s a crying shame that a child with a seizure disorder or someone with a brain disorder or PTSD has not had this option available until recently. I’m thrilled it will be available soon, but there are still about one-fourth of U.S. states where that is not an option for patients. I certainly hope that in the near future all patients that can benefit from medical marijuana will have access to it legally.”
Lab Will Help Ensure Safety and Purity of Medical Marijuana in Mississippi
Osbon told WLBT that SHM will subject the medication it certifies to extensive testing to ensure that it is safe and effective for Mississippi patients.
“First of all, we’ll have to test for the potency of THC, the primary ingredient,” he said. “We’ll have to test for some other chemical compounds that are in the product called terpenes that help augment the effect of the THC. We’ll test for bacteria and mold and fungus. Needs to be none of that. We’ll test for pesticides, there needs to be none of that. We’ll test for heavy metal contamination, because God-forbid that be in the water or in the growing medium, there’s some lead or something like that.”
For Lab President, Medical Marijuana is Personal
But beyond being influenced by his professional experience, Osbon’s support for medical marijuana is in part a personal mission.
“Almost everyone that I meet that’s in this industry has a personal story and I have a personal story,” Osbon told WLBT. “I have a family member who passed from a brain tumor and they couldn’t have access to medical marijuana when they were in hospice care and, you know, had she been able to have it her suffering would have been greatly diminished, I believe.”
Now, Osbon is glad similar stories will be avoided in Mississippi. “I would hope that we don’t have to look at more people and say, ‘I’m sorry you just have to suffer.’”
Medical Marijuana Is Coming to Mississippi, so You Don’t “Just Have to Suffer” Anymore
Fortunately, medical marijuana is finally on the way to Mississippi, meaning that pharmacists like Osbon no longer have to watch their patients suffer needlessly, so long as those patients have a Mississippi Marijuana Card.
Join the thousands of Mississippians who are going to find the relief they’ve been seeking, and begin the process of getting your own card. Reserve an evaluation online today, and we’ll schedule an appointment for you with one of our highly trained, compassionate cannabis doctors just as soon as Mississippi’s medical marijuana market is up and running! You and your doctor will discuss your conditions so that they can determine whether you qualify for a Mississippi Marijuana Card, and they’ll help make the process of getting your card as easy as possible. Not only that, but by making your reservation online today, you can save $25 off the cost of the evaluation!
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Helping everyone achieve wellness safely and conveniently through increased access to medical marijuana. Our focus on education, inclusion, and acceptance will reduce the stigma for our patients by providing equal access to timely information and compassionate care.
If you have any questions, call us at (833) 781-6635, or simply book a medical marijuana evaluation to start getting relief you can trust today!