Thursday, December 29, 2022

Health Dept Fines Southern Sky, Orders Weed Destroyed

The Mississippi State Department of Health fined Southern Sky Brands and ordered the destruction of marijuana plants worth hundreds of thousands of dollars and fined the company $20,000 recently.  

The Health Department notified Southern Sky of the penalties in a December 12 letter.  The letter is posted below. 

The letter states Mississippi Medical Cannabis Program investigators inspected the Southern Sky facility on December 1 and found 28 storage containers of bagged cannabis flowers and/or trim.  The containers were 8-10 lbs each and contained 84 separate bulk packages.  Southern Sky staff could not supply any documentation.  MMCP regs require the tagging and tracking of all marijuana plants.  The notice states Southern Sky had no inventory controls documenting the inventory count or tracking transfers of plants.  The employees admitted they no longer kept daily logs.  

MMCP Director Lori Epperson fined Southern Sky $15,000 for failure to properly maintain records and $5,000 for failure to track inventory.  However, the destruction of the plants dwarfs the fines.  The wholesale market value of such plants in Mississippi ranges from $3,000 to $4,000 per pound.  Investigators found 28 containers of improperly stored weed that weighed 8-10 lbs each. JJ estimates the destroyed value of the plants to range from approximately $700,000 to $1.2 million.  Quite a hefty price to pay for not tagging and tracking but the penalty shows the Health Department is quite serious about regulating medical marijuana in Mississippi.  


Southern Sky was supposed to submit a corrective action plan by December 19.  It must destroy all 28 containers under Health Department supervision.  The facility can not operate until the destruction takes place and MMCP approves the plan.  MMCP must verify compliance before the facility can reopen. 

The owners of Southern Sky are William Martin, Justin Mahfouz, John Cranmore, and Donald Partridge.   

JJ readers are familiar with Mr. Mahfouz and his other company,  Partridge-Sibley Industrial Services.  Remember all that acidic wastewater Gold Coast Commodities shipped to Rebel High Velocity Sewer Services to dump in Jackson's sewer system? The dumping that is currently the subject of several federal criminal prosecutions? Partridge-Sibley trucks carried the wastewater from Gold Coast to Rebel.  Mahfouz is the President and Partridge is the CEO of the company.  Post on Jackson lawsuit. 

Partridge-Sibley employee William Roberts pleaded guilty to illegal dumping in U.S. District Court on October 18, 2022. JJ reported: 

During court today, William Roberts, 44, of Pearl, Mississippi, admitted supervising the transportation and disposal of industrial waste from Gold Coast Commodities, Inc., of Brandon, Mississippi, to a site at a commercial entity in Jackson, which, as a result of his negligence, caused the waste to be trucked and hauled to a facility that was not a legal discharge point designated by the Jackson Wastewater Treatment System to receive the waste.Earlier post.

 U.S. Magistrate Keith Ball fined Roberts $1,000 and placed him on probation for one year on December 14.  

The Health Department also entered into a consent decree with Mockingbird on October 24.   The company operates a cultivating facility, processing facility, and cannabis transport company in Mississippi. 

Mockingbird's main cultivating facility is on Springridge Road just outside of Clinton.  The company has a secondary facility on Parsons Road in Raymond that was the subject of complaints from competitors.  The facility is a former nursery. MMCP  agents inspected the facilities after it received several complaints from competitors.  Competitors charged the company was growing plants in greenhouses.  

 The Department of Revenue and Health Department conducted surprise inspections of both facilities.

The Health Department determined the company grew plants in greenhouses covered only with clear plastic walls or tarps at the Parsons Road facility.  It said some were rolled up and had large holes in them.  The corrective action plan stated the greenhouse structures did not have permanent walls but were instead "retractable, left open at times, and are not permanent. The side walls are not secure against unauthorized entry" nor did the doors have commercial grade locks.  

No violations were found at the main Springridge Road facility.

The consent decree said the company operated in good faith and corrected the violations stated in the corrective action plan.  Mockingbird upgraded the security at Standing Pine by installing commercial grade doors and locks, solid structures, and of course, more security cameras.  The company completed the improvements by October 11.

 The consent decree said agents found a total of two trays containing 20-40 immature plants.  The plants were found to be in violation and were immediately tagged upon discovery. The plants were under eight inches in height. Mockingbird said in its response (p.10, #1) the tags were generated for the plants in question but not yet attached to the plants.  They are attached and entered into the state's tracking system.

MMCP agents will inspect the locations in question on a monthly basis for six months.  Mockingbird must report all dates of harvest at those locations three days prior to harvest. New plants may not be placed at five additional locations unless approved by the Health Department.  

Mockingbird volunteered to destroy all remaining plants at Standing Pines.  The Health Department accepted the offer and the plants were destroyed under Health Department supervision. The Health Department did not require the destruction of the plants as reported elsewhere. 

Kingfish note: The actions should not come as a surprise to anyone.  Mississippi has a new industry with new regulation.  There were bound to be problems in the first six months as everyone tries to figure it all out.  

Posted below: Southern Sky Letter, Southern Sky Findings, Mockingbird consent decree, and Mockingbird corrective action plan.  The documents were obtained through a public records request.


Anonymous said...

Reefer Madness, Mississippi version.

Anonymous said...

@ 12:43PM

Spoken like a true redneck baby boomer.

Anonymous said...

where and when will that "Devils lettuce" be burned ?

Anonymous said...

I wonder how the investors feel about this...

Anonymous said...

300 pounds of weed with no idea where it came from. If it’s in my garage, it’s possession of a controlled substance; when it turns up at one of our “new industries,” it’s merely “failure of accurately track inventory control” and “failure to sufficiently maintain records.”

Oh, I know, I know. No need to start spluttering about how it helps with chronic pain and anxiety, how it reduces ocular pressure, how it’s no worse than / better than alcohol / just as bad as beer. But if it relieved none of the above, if it were in the long term in fact worse for the individual and the whole of the population than alcohol, you potheads would still want medical weed. That just goes to show that medical marijuana was the foot in the door toward recreational marijuana and what potheads really want is just to have made legal their favorite way to get fucked up.

Legislators will approve anything for a buck they might be able to appropriate.

Anonymous said...

December 29, 2022 at 1:04 PM, you're only jealous that you aren't a true redneck.... huh, what the hell is a baby boomer? Hahaha haha.

That day smoking is a warping your mind. I bet you're a deacon in the maryjane church cult.

Anonymous said...

Example made. Notice served.

Anonymous said...

A waste of perfectly good medicine.

Anonymous said...

Karma is such a bitch Eh?

Anonymous said...

I thought a Reefer was a refrigerated truck that hauls food such as meats, ice, and produce and dead bodies.

Anonymous said...

Seems like if you’re rich you can get away with anything. Just pay someone else to take the fall every time!

Anonymous said...

1:10 the investors are probably hot over it. I sat in on both pitches, there were some big names in both of them.

Anonymous said...

In all the investigative work here. I wonder if it ever occurred to find out if SSB responded on the 19th? It’s been 10 days, seems like a good thing to know. And when we find out if they responded or not by the 12/19 date, if they did, what was the rebuttal? The DOH inspectors are just as new at this as everyone, it not even more green, so it shouldn’t surprise anyone if their “findings” are due to them not knowing what they are looking at. Bagged, curing cannabis is very different from finished product but looks the same…one of those has to be tagged, one doesn’t. Sounds like something fishy on the DOH side, not SSB.

Anonymous said...

This is VERY good news!

Now, if they can force vendors to package the so-called "medicines" in ways consistent with traditional packaging and presentation of medications...

Anonymous said...

December 29, 2022 at 2:09 PM, I will assign this project to you since you brought up this question. Get back with us as quickly as possible.

Thank you for your prompt attention to this matter.

Signed, Anonymous.

Anonymous said...

Things just don't go well in Canton. Now I'm gonna have to go back to my country supplier.

Anonymous said...

Why hasn’t JJ commented on So Sky’s Dec 19 response to the accusations of Dec 12?? It’s a good read!!

Kingfish said...

I've submitted a public records request for it and it will be reported. You want to send me a copy of it, send me a copy of it or quite playing games, prick.

Anonymous said...

And this is suppose to bother me how????

Anonymous said...

Gallo had a 'guest' on the other day, maybe two days ago, who is chair or CEO of some organization in Mississippi related to medical marijuana. Mississippi Medical Marijuana something-or-other. He sounded like an expert, indeed, very knowledgeable about where we are with the rollout, When the product should be available, the holdup caused by the process of studying the content of the product, how growers are regulated, what steps a merchant must go through, how the Health Department figures into the approval of patients, etc.

I kept waiting for Gallo to state (or ask) whether this guy is a state employee, employed by growers, a member of some consulting firm or just who the hell he was. He's obviously on somebody's payroll. Gallo never even touched on it.

The man did say the target date for product availability and sales is Mid January but if that target is not met (due to being bogged down with the content verification process) he expects weed to be sold legally by Mid February. Of interest was the fact that he said only a few people could be in a 'store' at a time and nobody could just walk in and browse or hang out.

The whole thing sounded like a giant cluster-fuck with different sets of 3-stooges at every turn.

Anonymous said...

@1:04 PM - Nope, not a boomer. I was born during WWII, not after. Reefer Madness was still playing in the theaters, slacker.

Anonymous said...

This will be business as usual for all the growers-

Anonymous said...

This ain’t how they do it in Jeff Davis County!

Anonymous said...

Is the rush to be the first to RX market?

Has that factor been determinative in establishing brand loyalty in other states?

I know one of the sanctioned owners and he’s legitimately the nicest guy….hope it pans out

Anonymous said...

Department of Health playing favorites. One company gets a slap, the other pays.

Anonymous said...

Those Southern Sky folks are really good people, I hope this gets sorted out soon.

Anonymous said...

Lolololol we all know Mockingbird was behind this!

Stuff About ZeroBear PolyBear said...

This is 100% serious.

I worked Administrative QC/QA/Regulatory in the pharmaceutical industry for 40+ years at multipal facilities around the country.

If anyone needs regulatory (State and/or Federal) consultation, I can be reached by email at

I would work on a contract basis as a consultant. Happy to have an initial discussion if you are legitimate.

Anonymous said...

4:54 I don't see how favorites are being played. One company offered to destroy product, one was ordered to.

Anonymous said...

5:15 / good people duck up occasionally…
However, one must question whether good people dump chemicals and pollute…

Anonymous said...

So private businesses get immediate consequences whereas MSDH allows Jackson to poison its residents with disgusting and unreliable water for years and years and years?

Anonymous said...

4:43 Why? ...cause he's a "nice" guy?

Anonymous said...

This is all so stupid. The voters approved . The "legislazure" was shocked, - that "the voters", the "citizens of the State." Overwhelmingly approved medical marijuana . Big deal -get over it- quite frankly right now the majority of voters in Mississippi are thinking about who they will NOT be voting for in the next election , because it seems the current legislature and other office holders (Lt Gov, Gov) are insensitive to the majority of the people and only interested in their own interests- along with their over compensated -temporary -self centered political career(s).
The convenience stores and other retail outlets are selling CBD products , Delta 8, etc.,
kratom and other weird- strange -products. I'm uncomfortable going in to pay for gas, etc. And no questions from the State.. I'm sure the local police, etc are overwhelmed.
There are credible business people that invested in property and structures, based on the voter approved initiative, and now they are being over scrutinized and trying to be punished by the State- before they can ship/supply any product.- because the State doesn't understand the voter approved initiative and doesn't have a plan in action yet. Surprised? So their plan is to be proactive and try and shut things down from the process of growing, etc., because they don't know what else to do and have no plan.
By the way- this does not matter to me personally one way or the other. I'm concerned with our elected officials. And I vote Republican.

To me - it's about the will of the citizens. And, what if there is another matter in the future that the majority of voters approve, but the "legislazure" doesn't think is in the majority's interest???

Anonymous said...

I have a hard time believing that as sophisticated as that operation looks to be that they had something that messed up. I’m curious to see the corrective action plan or their response to the DOH. I bet the DOH is wrong or misinformed at the very least.

Anonymous said...

Enough regulation can keep prices higher than its users, which limits its use. In CO, growers' costs are so high, the 'legal' market is fueling dark market where prices are cheaper.

Opposite effect is claimed by pro-legalization arguments which assert legalizing drugs will end illegal transactions. Of course they were wrong.

Welcome to the new dealers, same as the old dealers.

Anonymous said...

8:12 pm

Yes I hope it pans out because he is a “nice guy.”

He’s worked his ass off for 35 years watching some greedy people make tens of millions and he risked his coins to get into an industry he studied. He’s honest smart funny and genuine.

So I hope he gets filthy rich for his endeavors.

Anonymous said...

According to Gallo's expert earlier this week, the holdup, on distribution and purchase, is due entirely to the fact that there are only TWO labs certified to test the weed. 'He Said' Mississippi has the strictest testing standards in the nation for determining precise quality and nemerical value of multiple contents present in weed.

Does this (on the part of our legislature) bring to mind the ongoing 58-year whiskey-debacle in this state? A bunch of Bubbas, Southern Baptists and controlling-women deciding what's best for all of us.

Can't wait to see a bunch of Holier-Than-Thou protesters lining up with megaphones in front of every weed outlet like they did the abortion mill in Jackson. We all going to hell 'cept for the few who lock themselves inside the church.

Anonymous said...

This is crazy because this company is the loudest when it comes to “high standards” for growing.

Anonymous said...

1:15 pm for the win! Perfect description of what it’s all about.

Anonymous said...

The first church of maryjane is in an uproar. The destruction of wacky weed before it can be consumed, is the equivalent of abortion to the Christian churches.

Their rallying cry to this devious action, is this is an abomination, and this aggression will not stand.

Anonymous said...

Mississippi Medical Cannabis Program investigators inspected the Southern Sky facility on December 1 and found 28 storage containers of bagged cannabis flowers and/or trim. The containers were 8-10 lbs each and contained 84 separate bulk packages.

Right. And how many packages weren't accounted for during the bagging process?

... growers' costs are so high, the 'legal' market is fueling dark market where prices are cheaper.

That's crap. The black market has always run the show. From the outset the bullshit spin that legalization will eliminate the black market has only been that, bullshit.

Anonymous said...

It was probably headed to the streets of Canton for "medical" distribution LoL. They just got caught with what hadn't gone out the door!

Anonymous said...

Southern Sky donated 7k dollars to the Rankin County Executive Committee Christmas party. Nothing says celebrating the birth of Jesus like accepting money from a weed company.

Rocky Mountain High John Denver said...

Southern Nights - Gathered around the campfire, coolers of trendy, craft beer, attendees singing Beatles songs and blowing weed provided by the (suddenly-popular) customer approved to purchase the product in bulk.

Will there be pineapples and a bowl full of house keys near the fire?

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