A New Frontier: Entrepreneurs share plans for medical cannabis business in Oxford

Published 2:45 pm Friday, August 12, 2022

Mississippi has issued four businesses in Lafayette County a license to dispense medical cannabis.

On Aug. 5, the Mississippi Medical Cannabis Program released a list of licensed medical cannabis businesses in the state. Mississippi officially has 107 licensed medical cannabis establishments. Of the 107, 93 are dispensaries.

Within Lafayette County, four businesses were licensed as medical cannabis establishments by the Mississippi Department of Revenue: CannaMiss, LLC; Southern Crop Wellness IV, LLC; Hybrid, LLC; and Magnolia Medical Cannabis Company, LLC.

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All four entities are licensed as medical cannabis dispensaries and located in Oxford.

Medical cannabis dispensaries will acquire, store, transfer, and sell supplies or dispenses medical cannabis, equipment used for medical cannabis or related supplies and educational materials to registered card holders.

Ross Capwell of Magnolia Cannabis plans to open a total of five dispensaries under one license. One dispensary will be placed in Oxford at 101 Ricket D Britt, Suite 3B/4A.

“This is [a] new frontier for all involved so it will be interesting to be a part of it,” said Capwell. Capwell worked in the magazine publishing industry for 30 years, 

“I’m looking at this business just as I would any other new business opportunity,” he said. “The growth potential is significant but I understand the risks because it is not legal on the federal level to date.”

Although it is not legal on a federal level, 37 states in the United States have approved the use of medical cannabis. Medical cannabis is used to treat people with medical conditions and chronic or terminal diseases.

“I believe it’s an effective product that we need in the state for our patients with certain medical conditions. Medical cannabis is less harmful and with fewer side effects than most prescription drugs especially opiate-based painkillers,” Capwell said. “I believe that’s why the majority of Americans feel that it should be legal.”

Hill Top Wellness COO and co-founder Mike Watkins provided personal testimony on the benefits of medical cannabis for a patient.

“I’m a veteran. I joined [the miliary] a month before 911 and so I was on over 400 pills a month when I got out because the VA loves to give you prescriptions,” Watkins told The Eagle. “When I hit the medical [cannabis] program in Oregon, I went from taking 400 prescription pills a month to zero in less than a year. 

“I would not be the man I am today without getting off of that and finding another regimen to help my PTSD and things like that,” he said.

Hill Top co-founder and CEO Robert Langley Jr. shares a similar outlook with his business partner. Langley said the approval of medical cannabis could rewrite the negative stigma society has against it.

“I want to make it clear that cannabis is not harmful,” he said. “Cannabis is natural. Cannabis is nothing to be scared of or anything we should frown upon… Cannabis can cause someone that has Parkinson’s to go from where they can’t even pour their coffee to where they can drive to town and get groceries for the first time in 25 years.”

Hill Top Wellness is not one of the licensed medical cannabis businesses, however, Langley and Watkins said they hope to have everything submitted soon for their dispensary and transportation companies.

“A lot of these bigger companies will do their own transportation, but for like little mom-and-pop places and the medium tiers, all the way down to micro-grows, they don’t have the infrastructure,” said Watkins. “They’re worried about putting out quality products for patients. So we’re going to fill the gap for that.”

Legislation for medical cannabis was hard won in Mississippi, but entrepreneurs in the industry believe recreational cannabis is not far behind.

“If Mississippi runs along the same path as other states, usually the recreational side will come in three to five years,” said Capwell. “We will see but I’m just excited to be a part of the first stages and help determine its shape.”