JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — The owner of a Mississippi medical marijuana dispensary filed a federal lawsuit Tuesday challenging state regulations that he says censor business owners by preventing them from advertising.
After Mississippi legalized medical marijuana for people with debilitating conditions in 2022, Clarence Cocroft II opened Tru Source Medical Cannabis in Olive Branch, Mississippi. But he says he has struggled to reach customers because Mississippi’s Department of Health has banned medical marijuana businesses from advertising in any media.
That violates business owners’ First Amendment rights, Cocroft’s attorneys wrote in a lawsuit filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Mississippi.
“All I want to do, like any other business owner, is have the opportunity to advertise. If I pay taxes in this business, which I do, I should be able to advertise,” Cocroft said at a news conference. “All I’m asking from this state is to provide us with the same liberty that they’ve provided other businesses.”
Cocroft, who is represented by the Institute for Justice, sued the leaders of the state’s Department of Health, Department of Revenue and Alcoholic Beverage Control Bureau. The lawsuit accuses state regulations of prohibiting business owners from engaging in truthful commercial speech to promote