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Don’t Tell Me This Town Ain’t Got No Heart: Mississippi’s Attorney General Opines on a City’s …

What promises to be the first of a litany of legal interpretations of the new Mississippi Medical Cannabis Act , Attorney General Lynn Fitch released an official attorney general’s opinion on April 15, 2022, regarding the scope of a municipality’s ability to locally regulate medical cannabis establishment operations through zoning or ordinances.

Evaluating the text of the MMCA, Mississippi’s general zoning statutes, and analogizing a prior opinion about local zoning of gambling activities, Fitch opined that a municipality’s “limited regulatory power” under the MMCA allows the city to designate specific types of commercial zones or zones in which commercial use is otherwise authorized or not prohibited, as long as doing so does not have the purpose or effect of prohibiting or making impracticable the operation of such establishments within the city.

Accordingly, the City may designate specific types of commercial zones in which medical cannabis establishments may operate, and the City’s local zoning ordinances may regulate the time, place, and manner of operation, so long as the ordinances are in line with the mandates of S.B.

It seems likely that the attorney general may have reached a similar opinion regarding a city or county’s ability to expand the MMCA’s 1,000-foot distance requirement between medical cannabis establishments and churches, schools, or childcare facilities.

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