OLIVE BRANCH, Miss. — Tru Source, a black-owned medical marijuana dispensary, opened in Olive Branch this week. It is the first of its kind in North Mississippi.
Clarence Cocroft, the owner of True Source, says, “It does something to me to know we are now legally able to sell when it is so many of us that’s locked up.”
Cocroft says he was the first person to apply to open a medical marijuana dispensary in the State of Mississippi. His son, AJ Cocroft, says it took a while, but the family was determined to open the business.
“Why not make history being the first black-owned dispensary in north Mississippi in an area where it is already significantly challenging to establish black businesses,” AJ said. “Why not be the first?”
Only two percent of dispensaries in the country are black-owned. Cocroft says at one point, he never thought opening his own would be possible. “Now, it is a blessing to have the ability to be on this side of the equation,” Cocroft said. “So, I hope other African Americans will get on the legal side of cannabis.”
Tennessee is one of only 12 states without a viable medical cannabis program. It is one of 19 states that continues imprisoning individuals for possessing small amounts of cannabis.
According to the ACLU, despite roughly equal usage rates, Blacks are 3.73 times more likely than Whites to be arrested for marijuana.
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Now that Mississippi has made medical cannabis legal, Cocroft hopes more black people will get involved in the legal industry. “Find your policy,” he said. “Understand the rules, the [regulations], and law that is truly behind consuming and being able to dispense medical marijuana.”
Right next door to True Source is Diversity Health Network, where you can go to see a practitioner and get your medical cannabis card.
“This is new here in Mississippi for everyone,” said Shantell Robinson, owner of DHN. “I have done my due diligence and studied all sides, from the provider side to the state side to the patient side, so I want to bridge that gap the make the process so smooth for people.”
During this year’s legislative session, the Tennessee legislature failed to act on any cannabis policy reform.