Marijuana being sold legally in Mississippi on a technicality

BILOXI, Miss. (WLOX) – As the push continues from lawmakers to legalize marijuana in Mississippi, the South Mississippi Metro Enforcement Team says some businesses in South Mississippi are already selling weed, and there’s nothing police can do about it.

South Mississippi Metro Enforcement Team Narcotics Director Joe Nicholson said marijuana is being sold in Mississippi legally.

“So what we’re seeing being sold in vape pens in these vape shops is Delta 8,” he said. “It’s a strain of marijuana. Delta 8 is illegal in Mississippi.”

However, there’s one caveat.

“Except, they’re putting it in vape pens, and the vape pen itself is less than a milliliter,” Nicholson said. “Our state statute defines a dosage unit as a milliliter or more.”

Mississippi Code 41-29-139 states in order to charge someone, law enforcement must have a dosage unit. Because of that technicality, vape shop owners that offer it are not in the wrong.

“If you don’t have a dosage unit, you can’t charge them,” Nicholson said. “The crime lab won’t test it. We’ve tried it, we’ve sent it. The crime lab has told us we can’t test it because it’s less than a milliliter anyway and it doesn’t define as a dosage unit.”

Because the amount of Delta 8 is less than a milliliter, Nicholson said vape shops across the state can legally sell it. He said the root of the problem is money.

“This is all profit-driven,” he said. “There is no other reason to sell it. It is profit-driven. It’s not being labeled as medical use or anything else like that, and when you can’t control those things that are profit driven, you don’t know who’s getting their hands on it, who’s buying it, if it’s geared towards kids and if they’re getting it. It’s hard to detect. The only thing that we can ask them then is if they know it’s illegal. They know what’s in it, they just shouldn’t be selling it, but what someone shouldn’t be doing and what I can do by the law, is two different things.”.

Nicholson said law enforcement can only enforce the laws that are on the books, and that it takes the legislature to fix the problem in order to prevent illegal substances from being sold over the counter.

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