The MCPA does NOT sell or purchase medical cannabis

Get in the know!

Subscribe to get our latest news and updates!

How To Get A Medical MJ Card In MS | MCPA TV with Kris Jones of the MS State Dept. of Health

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

[00:00:00] Angie Calhoun: How do I get a medical cannabis card in Mississippi? That’s what we’ll discuss today on MCPA TV.

I’m Angie Calhoun with the Mississippi Cannabis Patients Alliance. And today I have a really special guest with me. Kris Jones, from the Department of Health. Thank you so much, Kris, for joining me today.

[00:00:25] Kris Jones: Thank you, Angie. I appreciate the invitation.

[00:00:27] Angie Calhoun: You’re so welcome. Kris, tell us a little bit about what you do at the Department of Health.

[00:00:33] Kris Jones: So, I am responsible for developing the medical cannabis program in state, and it was a responsibility that was a little bit unanticipated, quite honestly. But my entire background in state government has been centered around mostly behavioral health and child welfare. And one of the things that was always really important to me was making programs accessible for people. And so that’s really how we met even Angie, as I started to look at this and I wanted to make sure that anything we put together was going to be accessible for the patients that need the program. So that’s something we always try to keep in the forefront. So, it was unanticipated, but has really been a gift for me.

[00:01:12] Angie Calhoun: Wow! And I will say that it’s a gift to the patients of Mississippi, that we have Kris, because after working with her for several months now, I’ve just come to realize what an incredible person you are and how much she truly cares about this program. And that patients do have ease of access and that we have affordable products. And so, we’re going to jump on into some questions we have been dying to hear.

[00:01:37] Kris Jones: Ok

[00:01:37] Angie Calhoun: So, Kris, tell us a little bit about How A Patient Gets A Mississippi Medical Cannabis Card.

[00:01:44] Kris Jones: Okay. And that’s a question we’ve been getting a lot. Angie, a lot of patients are reaching out and they think, oh, I can stop by an office. I fill out a paper form and I’m going to get a card and that’s not quite yet. We wanted to make it a little bit easier than that. Even. I always tell people, if you can shop on Amazon, you’ll be able to work this process. And we know we can shop on Amazon.

[00:02:05] Angie Calhoun: Yeah.

[00:02:05] Kris Jones: But a patient first has to see a practitioner. And for us, that’s going to be a physician, a nurse practitioner, or an optometrist. And they have to have a relationship with that practitioner because what they’re looking for in that process is the practitioners doing an assessment and making sure that they have a relationship with that person. Because what they’re trying to do is assess whether or not they have one of those debilitating conditions that’s included in our law here in Mississippi. So, they first see their practitioner. And an important point is that the practitioner has to be registered with us to participate in the program. So anytime a patient reaches out to me, that’s my first response back is, you need to talk to your practitioner, and you need to make sure that they know that you want to participate in the program, and you need to find out if they are participating in the program. So that happens really on the front end. There’s that relationship, there’s the conversation back and forth between the patient and the practitioner. And then the practitioner, once they’re registered with us, they actually go into our online system and complete the written certification for the person.

[00:03:15] Angie Calhoun: Okay. Let me ask you this… this is a big question that people have, will a patient have to establish the relationship, that bonafide relationship with the practitioner before their initial visit, or can it all be done at one time?

[00:03:34] Kris Jones: Yeah, some of that is left up to the practitioner. But you know I always suggest to patients that they go ahead and they start the conversation now and they start to look for that practitioner that’s gonna be a good fit for them so they can have that easy conversation and make their wishes known to the practitioner. Some people have asked, is there a specific timeframe that that relationship has to have been established yet? And we have not put any plans, anything in place that indicates that.

[00:04:02] Angie Calhoun: Ok.

[00:04:02] Kris Jones: So really the practitioner has the opportunity. They may even review medical records of someone else and decide, okay, this patient has made their wishes known to me. I’m confirming their debilitating condition. I believe they would benefit from the use of medical cannabis and that practitioner can go forward in completing that certification for that patient.

[00:04:23] Angie Calhoun: Ok, so the rumor that it’s mandatory to see the practitioner ahead of time and then a mandatory second visit. That’s not exactly true. It’s up to the practitioner to decide if, if he or she can certify that patient in one visit. And so, what could our patients be doing right now to prepare for seeing those certified practitioners?

[00:04:54] Kris Jones: So, just like I said, like, I always suggest to people go ahead and ha and have the conversation with your practitioner, because when you look at the conditions that are included, our patients are already seeing a practitioner most of the time, for whatever, whatever the condition may be. So, there is usually an ongoing relationship and there’s ongoing treatment there. So, they really need to have those conversations now and make their wishes known. Because I had a conversation even with a practitioner from another state. And one of the things she said to me was, you know, at the time I didn’t really consider it as an option, but the more my patients talk to me and the more interest they expressed, I started to change my mind about things, and I started to look into it as a option. So, really speaking up, advocating for themselves, making their wishes, known, those are really important things they can do now.

[00:05:47] Angie Calhoun: What about, should they go ahead and start getting their medical records together from the other physicians that they are seeing or practitioners, so that they can present their case when they do that in-person visit with the practitioner?

[00:06:02] Kris Jones: Absolutely. Anything like that is going to be helpful.

[00:06:05] Angie Calhoun: Wow, I would think so. That way they can prove their debilitating medical condition and that would be great.

[00:06:10] Kris Jones: And may even be in a situation where they see a practitioner. Maybe that person is retired and they’re looking for a new practitioner. So, anytime they can have those medical records themselves, that’s going to help also, then you’re not waiting on records to transfer and that type of thing.

[00:06:25] Angie Calhoun: Yeah. Well, Chris, another burning question is, how soon can a patient potentially get their medical cannabis card in Mississippi?

[00:06:36] Kris Jones: So, that is a huge question that we get. This last month of May, and I say last month, because we’ve had a timeframe with the legislature after that act passed. We had as an agency, 120 days to put regulations in place. And that is, very quick and state government.

[00:06:54] Angie Calhoun: Indeed.

[00:06:55] Kris Jones: So, we are finalizing regulations this month. So there’ll be a lot of activity around that with the intent of taking applications starting June.

[00:07:05] Angie Calhoun: Wow.

[00:07:06] Kris Jones: Right.

[00:07:06] Angie Calhoun: That is amazing. So, now if the practitioner has to be credentialed, are they able to go ahead and do that, so that as of the first or June, the patient could start doing, visiting their practitioner?

[00:07:21] Kris Jones: So, the practitioner can’t register until June, either. But what we went ahead and did is we put out a frequently asked questions document for our practitioners, because one of the requirements that they have is that they have eight hours of continuing medical education in order to apply. So, we, several weeks ago, identified coursework that we would approve as part of the application process, and put that out on our website. So, they could start to complete that training now, so the practitioners are ready to go June one, that there’s not as much of a delay for a patient.

[00:07:54] Angie Calhoun: That’s wonderful to know and I know that our patients will greatly appreciate that. So, as of June one, the patients can actually start seeing their practitioners and then, fill out their application online, right?

[00:08:08] Kris Jones: That’s right, online.

[00:08:10] Angie Calhoun: Only online.

[00:08:10] Kris Jones: Only online. And what happens is the practitioner completes that certification for them and it kind of sits in a holding pattern, or in our system, until the patient comes online and applies. And then, we automatically match things with medicators we’ve marked in that application, so that we know if I’m the practitioner and you come in and apply, it’ll match and pull your certification. So, it’s nothing, no paperwork or anything that the patient has to keep up with.

[00:08:39] Angie Calhoun: Oh, that’s great. That’s wonderful.

[00:08:41] Kris Jones: Yeah.

[00:08:41] Angie Calhoun: So, how long will the application process take once the patient applies? Is there a timeframe?

[00:08:49] Kris Jones: There is a timeframe. And one of the things that’s very important is that when a patient completes an application, even when a practitioner or anyone who may even apply as a dispensary, or anything like that, that everything is complete when it gets to us. Cause that just cuts down on that back and forth and sending documentation back and forth. So, we, our goal is to have things complete in no more than 30 days for our facilities but looking at about five to ten per patient.

[00:09:19] Angie Calhoun: Oh, wow. That is a very quick turnaround.

[00:09:21] Kris Jones: It is a very quick turnaround.

[00:09:22] Angie Calhoun: That’s really exciting. I am really thrilled to hear that, Kris.

[00:09:27] Kris Jones: Yeah.

[00:09:27] Angie Calhoun: Y’all have got so much to do these last thirty days or really less than that now.

[00:09:33] Kris Jones: Right,

[00:09:33] Angie Calhoun: Three weeks actually. And so y’all, y’all are so busy and to know that you’re gonna get that turned around and in five to ten days, that’s just amazing.

[00:09:42] Kris Jones: Well, our goal is that once we have the information, everything is there, we have the certification, we have the application, that it’s a quick turnaround. We don’t want to hold things up.

[00:09:52] Angie Calhoun: Oh, that’s great to hear. And I’m so appreciative myself of that. And so, okay. And so, what about the six-month follow-up language that’s in the bill? Tell us a little about that.

[00:10:04] Kris Jones: There is that six month follow up language and really when you look at it, once that practitioner issues the certification, it technically is good for a year. But I think what’s important in that is, our legislature, our policy makers had the foresight to, to think ahead and to think about that there needs to be follow up with that practitioner. So, if there are adjustments that need to be made, if they are possible interactions, that they’re, that six-month follow-up is a real important piece that the patient needs to remember. Oh wait, I’ve got to follow up with my practitioner. Talk about anything that may be affecting them in terms of side effects they may experience or improvements that they’re experiencing. So that six month follow up is very important. Also, for the ongoing certification.

[00:10:55] Angie Calhoun: So, Chris, tell us about tele-health. Will that be an option for the patients this year?

[00:11:00] Kris Jones: You know, right now it’s not going to be an option in this first year, but that’s not to say Angie, that as we get into the program and we’ve learned many lessons I’m sure, that’s something that we can adjust going forward. I know that right now, our legislature already has a list of things that they want to change and improvements they want to make and I’m sure we’ll do the same. So, the first year it’s not going to be available, but that doesn’t say that doesn’t mean that will be the case ongoing.

[00:11:26] Angie Calhoun: Yeah, well thanks for answering that. That’s been something that a lot of people have been wondering about.

[00:11:30] Kris Jones: Yes, we get that question a lot.

[00:11:32] Angie Calhoun: I bet, I bet. And so, now will a patient have to reapply each year, through the Department of Health for their card?

[00:11:42] Kris Jones: They will and that’s something that we’ve planned for on the front end. We want that, that renewal to be as simple as possible. It will be online again and just basically updating their information or reporting any changes to it. So, we want to keep that process very simple for them.

[00:12:00] Angie Calhoun: Thanks for tuning into MCPA TV. We’ll have another episode with Kris Jones from the Mississippi State Department of Health soon. So be sure to tune in then. And thank you, our viewers, for tuning in and watching MCPA TV. For more information, go to our website, follow us on social media, and share this video with your friends and family. Thank you again for tuning in to MCPA TV.

Skip to content