By Talbert Toole
Oxford residents had the opportunity to sign a petition in support of putting medical marijuana on the 2020 ballot in February at the Stone Center. Photo provided. When Mississippians for Compassionate Care—a statewide organization that advocates for progressive medicinal marijuana legislation—passed the 86,000 signature threshold in September to get the issue on the 2020 ballot, local business owner Tony Barragan breathed a sigh of relief.
Barragan, who launched Oxford’s Hempville CBD in February, regularly advocates for the medicinal use of the drug and now will join 25 or so other advocates currently working on guidelines and regulation legislation in Jackson.
Barragan was contacted via email by state representative Joel Bomgar, a District 58 representative in the Mississippi Legislature, to see if he would be interested in joining the panel. Bomgar is one of the state legislators who is helping craft legislation for regulating medicinal marijuana in Mississippi if it passes during the 2020 election in November.
Barragan said most of his advocacy comes in the way of educating his customers. As the owner of Hempville CBD, he teaches the health benefits of CBD and medicinal marijuana to the LOU community.
“[State legislators] didn’t call me just because,” Barragan said. “They know I’m educating myself and educating the community on this product.”
On Monday, Nov. 4, Barragan and his fellow panel associates, known as the Strategic Round Table, gathered in Jackson for the first session of discussing regulations of medicinal marijuana.
The panel included doctors, lawyers, state representatives and even dispensary business owners from Oregon and Arkansas.
Barragan said the overall conversation embodied what would be taking place in the next 10 months regarding the medicinal marijuana movement, such as regulations.
If approved by the voters in 2020, patients who are suffering from a variety of approved medical conditions will be able to obtain medical marijuana after they are examined by Mississippi licensed physicians and certified to use it. The Mississippi Department of Health (MDH) will regulate the process by which medical marijuana is grown, processed and made available to patients.
Prior to the vote in November 2020, the panel aims to supply the MDH with final guidelines and regulations.
“We are structuring who becomes a registered patient,” Barragan said.
During the first session, Barragan said the panel discussed which ailments someone could have to apply for a medicinal marijuana card and what type of business would