Former governor joins healthcare professionals to launch testing facility in new medical marijuana program for Mississippi.
Former Mississippi Governor Ronnie Musgrove will is joining an executive hospital team to form Magnolia Tech Labs. This new business will be a state of the art testing facility service for the state’s new medical marijuana industry.
Beginning yesterday, the Mississippi Department of Health opened applications for growers, dispensaries, and testing facilities to operate in the medical marijuana business. These applications are required to be filed in order to receive certification.
Quentin Whitewell and Dr. Kenneth Williams, as well as a Nashville partner Bappa Mukherji, have developed a comprehensive health care system in underserved areas of the North Delta. Over the years they have developed a friendship with Governor Musgrove leading to the most recent business venture.
“Governor Musgrove’s roots are where we have planted our healthcare flag, and his experience has brought a common bond. We share a passion of helping communities that were losing their hospitals,” said Whitwell. “Musgrove had been involved in the trade association that helped the get the initiative passed. No one was really talking about safety testing of the product at that time, and we knew that was going to be a very necessary part of the public trust in the industry.”
Musgrove has political experience in healthcare after serving as the chairman of the U.S. Health and Human Services Department’s Committee on Rural Health. He has also served as visiting Health Care Policy Fellow at Johns Hopkins University’s Bloomberg School of Public Health.
“Having a background in state government, I knew that testing needed to be a closely held public-private partnership that would service both the public and the industry. When we started talking with the Mississippi Department of Health about what testing should be required, they came to fully understand why this was so important to bring credibility to the industry,” said Musgrove.
Whitwell is also a former Jackson City Council member and current chairman and CEO of Progressive Health Systems, Inc., a not-for-profit hospital organization.
“Voters in Mississippi and the Legislature passed this law under the assumption that the
industry would produce a product that is safe and effective,” said co-founder Whitwell. “The
people who have worked so hard to make this industry a reality in Mississippi – and the
patients who are depending on this product — deserve to have confidence that the product is safe from pesticides, heavy metals and other pollutants. They also expect that every time they use that product, it does what their doctors tell them it will do.”
Williams serves as a doctor of internal medicine in Holly Springs. He also owns Alliance Health Systems in Holly Springs, a purchase made after the hospital was in danger of closing in 1999.
“This is very personal to me,” Gov. Musgrove added. “I had several conversations with my late wife, Melody, before she passed away last year from leukemia. She knew that cannabis would have helped her with pain from her disease and from the side effects of her cancer treatment. I want to be involved in this industry and help it grow so that people across our state will not have to suffer like she did.”
“The Hippocratic oath clearly states, ‘first do no harm,’” said Dr. Williams. “For doctors to
comfortably and confidently prescribe cannabis to their patients, they must be rock solid in the knowledge that the product they are prescribing is healthy, safe and effective. Quality testing will help bring that confidence not only to doctors across our state, but to their patients as well.”