Unlike Alaska, Colorado, Oregon, Washington, and the District of Columbia, marijuana is not legal to possess for recreational use or any other reason in the State of Mississippi. This remains the law in the Magnolia State despite the nation’s only legal “pot farm” for research and study purposes existing at the University of Mississippi.
So, what exactly is the law in Mississippi?
Section 41-29-139 of the Mississippi Code provides (in pertinent part) as follows:
(a) Except as authorized by this article, it is unlawful for any person knowingly or intentionally:
(1) To sell, barter, transfer, manufacture, distribute, dispense or possess with intent to sell, barter, transfer, manufacture, distribute or dispense, a controlled substance; or
(2) To create, sell, barter, transfer, distribute, dispense or possess with intent to create, sell, barter, transfer, distribute or dispense, a counterfeit substance.
(2) Marijuana or synthetic cannabinoids in the following amounts shall be charged and sentenced as follows:
(A) Thirty (30) grams or less by a fine of not less than One Hundred Dollars ($100.00) nor more than Two Hundred Fifty Dollars ($250.00). The provisions of this paragraph shall be enforceable by summons, provided the offender provides proof of identity satisfactory to the arresting officer and gives written promise to appear in court satisfactory to the arresting officer, as directed by the summons. A second conviction under this section within two (2) years shall be punished by a fine of Two Hundred Fifty Dollars ($250.00) and not less than five (5) days nor more than sixty (60) days in the county jail and mandatory participation in a drug education program, approved by the Division of Alcohol and Drug Abuse of the State Department of Mental Health, unless the court enters a written finding that such drug education program is inappropriate. A third or subsequent conviction under this section within two (2) years is a misdemeanor punishable by a fine of not less than Two Hundred Fifty Dollars ($250.00) nor more than Five Hundred Dollars ($500.00) and confinement for not less than five (5) days nor more than six (6) months in the county jail. Upon a first or second conviction under this section, the courts shall forward a report of such conviction to the Mississippi Bureau of Narcotics which shall make and maintain a private, nonpublic record for a period not to exceed two (2) years from the date of conviction. The private, nonpublic record shall be solely for the use of the courts in determining the penalties which attach upon conviction under this section and shall not constitute a criminal record for the purpose of private or administrative inquiry and the record of each conviction shall be expunged at the end of the period of two (2) years following the date of such conviction;
(B) Additionally, a person who is the operator of a motor vehicle, who possesses on his person or knowingly keeps or allows to be kept in a motor vehicle within the area of the vehicle normally occupied by the driver or passengers, more than one (1) gram, but not more than thirty (30) grams, of marijuana or synthetic cannabinoids is guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction, may be fined not more than One Thousand Dollars ($1,000.00) and confined for not more than ninety (90) days in the county jail. For the purposes of this subsection, such area of the vehicle shall not include the trunk of the motor vehicle or the areas not normally occupied by the driver or passengers if the vehicle is not equipped with a trunk. A utility or glove compartment shall be deemed to be within the area occupied by the driver and passengers;
(C) More than thirty (30) grams but less than two hundred fifty (250) grams may be fined not more than One Thousand Dollars ($1,000.00), or confined in the county jail for not more than one (1) year, or both; or fined not more than Three Thousand Dollars ($3,000.00), or imprisoned in the State Penitentiary for not more than three (3) years, or both;
(D) Two hundred fifty (250) grams but less than five hundred (500) grams, by imprisonment for not less than two (2) years nor more than eight (8) years or by a fine of not more than Fifty Thousand Dollars ($50,000.00), or both;
(E) Five hundred (500) grams but less than one (1) kilogram, by imprisonment for not less than four (4) years nor more than sixteen (16) years or a fine of less than Two Hundred Fifty Thousand Dollars ($250,000.00), or both;
(F) One (1) kilogram but less than five (5) kilograms, by imprisonment for not less than six (6) years nor more than twenty-four (24) years or a fine of not more than Five Hundred Thousand Dollars ($500,000.00), or both;
(G) Five (5) kilograms or more, by imprisonment for not less than ten (10) years nor more than thirty (30) years or a fine of not more than One Million Dollars ($1,000,000.00), or both.
(d)(1) It is unlawful for a person who is not authorized by the State Board of Medical Licensure, State Board of Pharmacy, or other lawful authority to use, or to possess with intent to use, paraphernalia to plant, propagate, cultivate, grow, harvest, manufacture, compound, convert, produce, process, prepare, test, analyze, pack, repack, store, contain, conceal, inject, ingest, inhale or otherwise introduce into the human body a controlled substance in violation of the Uniform Controlled Substances Law. Any person who violates this subsection is guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction, may be confined in the county jail for not more than six (6) months, or fined not more than Five Hundred Dollars ($500.00), or both; however, no person shall be charged with a violation of this subsection when such person is also charged with the possession of one (1) ounce or less of marijuana or synthetic cannabinoids under subsection (c)(2)(A) of this section.
Note: Two (2) years ago, Mississippi House Bill 1231, which in part enacted “Harper Grace’s Law” effective on July 1, 2014, authorized the legal, medicinal use of “CBD oil,” which is defined by Mississippi law as “processed cannabis plant extract, oil or resin that contains more than fifteen percent (15%) cannabidiol, or a dilution of the resin that contains at least fifty (50) milligrams of cannabidiol per milliliter, but not more than one-half of one percent (0.5%) of tetrahydrocannabinol.” It is legal by prescription only for certain individuals who have been diagnosed to suffer from seizures and seizure like symptoms.