Former Mississippi Gov. Ronnie Musgrove has applied to open a medical cannabis testing facility in the state along with Quentin Whitwell, the chairman of the board and co-owner of Panola Medical Center, the Associated Press reports. The state started taking applications for patients, medical practitioners, growers, processors, laboratories, transporters, and waste disposal providers on Wednesday.
Musgrove’s wife died from leukemia less than a year ago and the former governor told WLBT that he and his late wife had discussed medical cannabis following her diagnosis; however, the state program was not yet online. Musgrove said those conversations sparked his interest in entering the industry.
“I watched her go through the pain that she did. And she and I talked about it a number of times, because the initiative process was underway. And she said, ‘You know, that’s medical marijuana is something I would take instead of the opioids for the pain.’ And that is the first thing it started me thinking about it. … It was something that we talked about. It was something that I felt like was absolutely needed and stayed. And I felt like that if we could make that happen. I wanted to be involved in it.” – Musgrove to WLBT
Mississippi voters had approved a medical cannabis ballot initiative in November 2020 but it was invalidated by the state Supreme Court six months later. The court determined that the measure was not valid because the state constitution requires signatures from five congressional districts to get on the ballot, but the state only has four districts — effectively, the ruling found the state’s initiative process was outdated.
Musgrove’s and Whitwell’s application for Magnolia Tech Labs is for Holly Springs. Whitwell is the chief operating officer and legal counsel for the Alliance Healthcare System hospital in Holly Springs, as well as an administrator and CEO of Quitman Community Hospital.
Musgrove, a Democrat, served one term as the state’s lieutenant governor before serving as governor from 2000 to 2004.
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