Board OKs bud, pass on Buck

Growing grass and banning it from burning were the two main topics at the Jones County Board of Supervisors Monday morning meeting in Ellisville.

They approved the cultivation of medical marijuana in the county, but they still haven’t pulled the trigger to make the Free State a Second Amendment sanctuary.

Derrick Mackmer made a second presentation to supervisors, saying his business plan to open a grow facility on his property outside of Ellisville would be affected by their decision. Council Chairman Johnny Burnett said the council is “reviewing the matter to see what is in the best interests of Jones County.”

Mackmer said, “I’m just waiting for a yes so I can order supplies and start construction here, or if I have to move to Forrest County.”

At the end of the meeting, Beat 4 supervisor David Scruggs called him back saying, “Let’s vote, so (Mackmer) can start.”

Supervisor Larry Dykes agreed, pointing out that Laurel and Hattiesburg will have dispensaries and, since they are municipalities, they will collect sales tax. The county will levy property tax on growing and processing facilities, if the council does not refuse to allow the latter.

All counties will automatically opt in to all aspects of the business if they do not explicitly opt out by May 3, per state law passed in the last legislative session.

Scruggs’ motion was to go for culture — or, more accurately, to note that the board doesn’t plan to opt out of it — while supervisors check the rules and regulations of other parts of the business. .

“Can’t we just vote to grow it now?” Scruggs asked.

Supervisors voted 4-1 in favor of this, with Burnett casting the dissenting vote.

At a special meeting last week, he said: ‘As a Christian I can’t vote for it to be in the county – none of that.’

The county is unlikely to be overrun with facilities due to cost, Dykes said. Dispensaries will cost at least $40,000 in application and permit fees in the first year, then $25,000 per year thereafter. A processing facility requires an investment of at least $250,000 for extraction equipment and its cultivation facility – which must be indoors, secure and state-approved – will require an investment of $150,000. , Mackmer said. A transport license costs $7,500 a year, he said.

“I expect fewer than 10 Jones County facilities to operate due to cost,” Mackmer said.

Mackmer thanked supervisors and invited them to visit his facility in December, when he hopes to get it up and running.

In another similar case, the council agreed to pay for sod that was placed on the lawn of the Jones County Courthouse in Laurel in recent days. The cost was $1,450 for Pro Grade Sod & Stone in Hattiesburg and inmate labor from the Jones County Circuit Court Community Service Program did the work.

The board also noted that the county is under a burning ban for the next two weeks due to wildfire conditions and because local volunteer firefighters responded to dozens of calls across the county last week, particularly Friday and Saturday, Jones County Fire Coordinator Kyle Brooks said. noted.

Free State Citizens Action Union founder Buck Torske made a third presentation to supervisors, asking them to make Jones County a “Second Amendment sanctuary.” The resolution states that the council will not assist the federal government in illegally seizing or inventorying firearms belonging to law-abiding residents. A total of 27 Mississippi counties have passed similar resolutions.

“I haven’t heard a separate objection,” Torske said in a brief statement. “We have always counted on you to do what is best for us. It’s the right thing to do at the right time in the right place.

Burnett pointed out that every member of the board supports the Second Amendment.

“We will work to resolve this issue,” he said, “but I can’t give you an exact date.”

No one made a motion on the resolution.

Torske said he appreciated their consideration, then joked, “At $4.25 a gallon, those trips to the courthouse are starting to add up.”

In other matters, the board approved:

• Reimbursement of $25,000 from Pat Harrison Waterway District for a $46,000 repair on Dairy Road;

• Moving Jones County Constables to Gulfport for an annual convention and training seminar in June;

• A $1,000 donation to the Northeast Jones softball program (from supervisors Phil Dickerson, Burnett and Dykes), and Comegys and Scruggs donated $500 to Oak Grove student Izzy Karns (an Ellisville resident whose mother teaches at Oak Grove), who competes in Miss High School America.