Mississippi State Department of Health

Ex-Mississippi Governor Ronnie Musgrove seeks to open medical marijuana testing facility

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rssfeeds.clarionledger.com – Mississippi Clarion Ledger – 2022-06-02 06:28:25

JACKSON, Miss. — Former Mississippi Gov. Ronnie Musgrove is teaming up with a executive to apply for a state license to open a testing facility.

More:Medical marijuana applications became available June 1. What you need to know to apply.

The started taking applications Wednesday for the state’s new medical marijuana…

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Mississippi WIC program adds more products

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rssfeeds.hattiesburgamerican.com – Mississippi Clarion Ledger – 2022-06-01 13:43:27

The Mississippi Women Infants and Children program has added additional infant formula products and package sizes to the program’s approved product list, the announced in a press statement Wednesday morning.

“The Mississippi WIC program remains concerned about the national infant formula shortage and is taking the following action to ensure that its…

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Mississippi State Department of Health taking marijuana applications

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rssfeeds.clarionledger.com – Mississippi Clarion Ledger – 2022-06-01 15:53:10

Mississippi’s program officially began Wednesday as the began accepting applications.

Applications being accepted Wednesday were for cultivation, processing, transportation, disposal, research testing, patient ID cards, and physician certification. Businesses and people wanting to apply for work permits could also apply as of Wednesday.

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COVID-19 cases in Mississippi have risen slightly in May

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rssfeeds.clarionledger.com – Mississippi Clarion Ledger – 2022-05-31 21:00:19

Mississippi’s COVID-19 numbers are on the rise with 533 new cases reported by the between Jan. 1 and May 26.

According to the MSDH, there have been a total of 12,466 deaths in the state since the pandemic began in March 2020. 

“We are seeing a slight increase in cases, long term care, and hospitalization,” said Liz Sharlot, MSDH director of…

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28 cities opted out of medical marijuana

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At least 28 cities have opted out of medical marijuana, but the state is not keeping track

Editor’s note: A full list of cities and counties that opted out are included at the bottom of this story.

At least 28 cities and a dozen counties completely opted out of Mississippi’s program by the May 3 deadline, but the state’s health department isn’t keeping an official list of all the municipalities restricting businesses.  

It is also unclear if the Department of Revenue, the other state agency charged with running and overseeing the program, has any sort of official list of local governments who don’t want to participate. The agency didn’t respond to a request for comment by the time of publishing.

Both agencies will soon be accepting applications to administer licenses for the state’s long-awaited medical marijuana program. 

The does have an optional verification form for municipalities on its website, but in a statement MSDH said “there is no mandate for local governments to report to us that they are opting out.” The department also said it does not have a comprehensive list. 

As a result, the most complete list showing which areas have opted out of the program was put together by the Mississippi Cannabis Trade Association, a business and advocate group. Their list shows cities around Jackson and counties in the Delta choosing not to allow dispensaries, cultivation and production facilities to open in their areas. 

Ken Newburger, the director of the Mississippi Medical Marijuana Association, said the law itself didn’t include a directive for municipalities to report. At the same time, the lack of an official list at this point shouldn’t embolden anyone to attempt to get around the system when it’s time to put in applications, he said. 

“If you try to open a dispensary in a city that has opted out, the local officials have every power to 1. Stop you and 2. Report you to the state,” Newburger said. 

There has been some confusion in the week after the opt-out deadline. Flowood, for example, voted to opt out of all three categories the law allows cities to have a say in: distribution, cultivation, and processing products. Yet, some thought the city must have opted in because it will have a testing facility.

But testing facilities aren’t one of the categories municipalities can control – so the city’s medical marijuana status won’t affect the testing facility slated to open there.  

READ MORE: As Mississippi cities opt out of medical marijuana, business hopefuls shut out

Each county’s decision to opt out only covers its unincorporated areas, meaning some cities within opt-out counties are still able to have businesses in the program. Patients who live in opt-out areas can still possess and take medical marijuana. 

The trade association is working with advocates and entrepreneurs in opt-out areas to sign petitions that would trigger a special election over the matter. Local governments that opted out also have the choice to opt back in at any time.

Those that didn’t opt out by the May 3 deadline, however, don’t have any flexibility.

Beginning in June, the health department says it plans to begin accepting online applications for licenses for patients, medical practitioners, cultivation facilities, processing facilities, testing facilities, waste disposal businesses and transportation businesses. 

The Department of Revenue is responsible for licensing dispensaries and will start accepting applications in July. The agency now has waiver forms available that allow potential businesses to get permission from schools or churches to operate if they’re less than 1,000 feet away but no closer than 500 feet. 

Without a waiver, dispensaries must be at least 1,000 feet away. The law also doesn’t allow dispensaries to be within 1,500 feet of each other. 

READ MORE: New medical marijuana law draws millions in Mississippi investment

Melvin Robinson III, the spokesman for the trade association, said so far the early stages of the program and its rules are rolling out as expected. 

“Everyone is excited as it gets closer to the date,” Robinson said.

Given the interest, Robinson said he won’t be surprised if the agencies handling licensing wind up hitting a backlog in applications. He expects their websites to be swamped once they start accepting online applications this summer.  

Newberger said the health department is using a portal for applications that has been used and tested in other states. He, too, expected an application rush.

“Not everyone who applies is going to get one,” he said. 

The Department of Health has said it plans on a 30-day approval period for its business and physician related licenses and a five-day period for patients. 

Cities that opted out of dispensaries and cultivation/processing

  • Amory
  • Belmont
  • Brandon
  • Booneville
  • Caledonia
  • Carrollton
  • Clinton
  • D’Iberville
  • Ecru
  • Flora
  • Gluckstad
  • Greenwood
  • Horn Lake
  • Kilmichael
  • Lucedale
  • Madison
  • New Albany
  • Noxapater 
  • Picayune
  • Poplarville
  • Pontotoc
  • Ridgeland
  • Southaven 
  • Sumrall
  • Tishomingo 
  • Vaiden 

Cities that don’t allow dispensaries but do allow cultivation and processing

  • Winona 
  • North Carrollton

Counties that opted out of dispensaries and cultivation/processing (only applies to unincorporated areas)

  • Carroll County
  • Leflore County
  • Lincoln County
  • Newton County
  • Neshoba County
  • Pearl River County
  • Pontotoc County
  • Tippah County
  • Union County
  • Choctaw County
  • Lauderdale County

Counties that don’t allow dispensaries but do allow cultivation/processing (only applies to unincorporated areas) 

  • Jones County
  • Madison County

Clarification 5/11/22: This story has been updated to show Madison County has opted out of dispensaries but does allow cultivation.

This article first appeared on Mississippi Today and is republished here under a Creative Commons license.

State Health Officer Thomas Dobbs to resign in July

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rssfeeds.clarionledger.com – Mississippi Clarion Ledger – 2022-03-08 13:33:37

Mississippi State Health Officer Dr. Thomas Dobbs responds to a question during a news briefing regarding Mississippi's COVID-19 response in Jackson, Miss., Thursday, Aug. 19, 2021.

Mississippi State Health Officer Thomas Dobbs announced Tuesday that he will resign his position at the end of July.

Dobbs has been with the (MSDH) since 2008 fulfilling multiple roles including district health officer, state epidemiologist, and deputy state health officer.

During the last two years, he led the state’s public health campaign to combat…

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State Health Officer Thomas Dobbs to resign in July

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rssfeeds.hattiesburgamerican.com – Mississippi Clarion Ledger – 2022-03-08 13:28:32

Mississippi State Health Officer Dr. Thomas Dobbs responds to a question during a news briefing regarding Mississippi's COVID-19 response in Jackson, Miss., Thursday, Aug. 19, 2021.

Mississippi State Health Officer Thomas Dobbs announced Tuesday that he will resign his position at the end of July.

Dobbs has been with the (MSDH) since 2008 fulfilling multiple roles including district health officer, state epidemiologist, and deputy state health officer.

During the last two years, he led the state’s public health campaign to combat…

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State Health Officer Dr. Thomas Dobbs announces resignation

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Dr. Thomas Dobbs, state health officer who led Mississippi through pandemic, announces resignation

Dr. Thomas Dobbs, the state health officer who led Mississippi through the pandemic, announced on Tuesday he would resign at the end of July.

Dobbs has led the during one of the most difficult periods in the agency’s history, overseeing the state’s health orders and response to the pandemic.

“I feel like the time is right for me to return to the clinical side of medicine, particularly the communicable disease treatment of patients,” Dobbs said in a press release. “I have thoroughly enjoyed my time at MSDH, particularly working with this dedicated health staff and advancing the field of health equity in Mississippi.”

Dobbs has been the public face of MSDH throughout the pandemic, appearing alongside Gov. Tate Reeves at dozens of COVID-19 press conferences and hosting question and answer sessions on social media to answer Mississipians’ questions about the pandemic directly.

“Congratulations on a well-earned move! I hope you can get some rest from the constant crises, but also feel pretty confident you’ll find your way to the front-lines of helping others in your next role. Grateful for your friendship and counsel during hard times,” Reeves tweeted following the announcement. 

Dobbs has been a vocal champion of masking, social distancing and vaccination throughout the pandemic, despite political winds shifting against these protection measures. Even when confronted with conspiracy theories and threats, Dobbs continued to provide fact-based information and guidance on how Mississippians could stay safe.

Under Dobbs’ leadership, the pandemic-related recommendations from MSDH often mirrored those from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, even when those recommendations did not match up with the rhetoric or executive orders from Reeves. 

Dobbs has also been at the forefront of confronting the logistical and messaging challenges MSDH has faced since COVID-19 vaccines were rolled out in Mississippi. When it became clear that Black Mississippians were getting fewer COVID-19 vaccines than white Mississippians, Dobbs spoke publicly about the racial disparity and made vaccine equity a top strategic priority at MSDH. 

By taking seriously and implementing  Black community leaders’ solutions to trust and access issues, vaccine parity was achieved in Mississippi in a few months. 

Dobbs started working at the health department in 2008, holding numerous roles including district health officer, state epidemiologist and deputy state health officer.

MSDH also announced on Tuesday that Dr. Daniel Edney has been named deputy state health officer. Edney has served as MSDH’s chief medical officer for the past year and has worked closely with Dobbs on the agency’s COVID-19 response.   

MSDH’s board will take up the issue of naming an interim state health officer in one of its upcoming meetings.

This article first appeared on Mississippi Today and is republished here under a Creative Commons license.

MSDH Implores Use of Oral COVID-19 Antiviral Pills amid Monoclonal Antibody Shortage | Jackson Free Press

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jacksonfreepress.com – Julian Mills – 2022-02-15 13:06:00

Thousands of courses of oral COVID-19 treatments sit unused at Mississippi health providers, while the state continues to have a shortage of effective monoclonal antibody treatments. Mississippi State Department of Health officials urge patients to consider these oral medications for preventing severe illness and hospitalization from COVID-19. Photo by Michał Parzuchowski via Unsplash

Thousands of courses of oral treatments sit unused at Mississippi health providers, while the state continues to have a shortage of effective monoclonal antibody treatments. officials urge patients to consider these oral medications for preventing severe illness and hospitalization from…

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First ‘Stealth’ Omicron Subvariant Detected In Mississippi | Jackson Free Press

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jacksonfreepress.com – Julian Mills – 2022-02-10 12:56:42

The new subvariant, dubbed BA.2, may lengthen the state’s slow decline in cases and hospitalizations due to its increased contagiousness. State Epidemiologist Dr. Paul Byers noted that the Mississippi State Department of Health has so far detected only one case of the new subvariant, though difficulty in detection may make accurate detection difficult. Photo by Nick Judin

The new subvariant, dubbed BA.2, may lengthen the state’s slow decline in cases and hospitalizations due to its increased contagiousness. State Epidemiologist Dr. Paul Byers noted that the has so far detected only one case of the new subvariant, though difficulty in detection may make accurate…

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