JACKSON, Miss. (WLOX/WLBT) - Mississippi voters will have an opportunity this year to vote on legalizing medical marijuana in the state. Ballot Initiative 65 is now on the ballot, but it may not be the only initiative up for consideration.
Back in September, Mississippians for Compassionate Care submitted 105,686 signatures to qualify Initiative 65 for the November 2020 ballot. They only needed 86,000 signatures, but each one had to be reviewed and approved by the Secretary of State’s Office. That process is now complete.
The Mississippi Legislature now has four months to review, amend, adopt, or reject the initiative before the next statewide general election. As part of that process, lawmakers could decide to place their own amended version of the medical marijuana initiative on the ballot.
According to Section 23-17-29, Miss. Code Ann., “If the Legislature amends an initiative, the amended version and the original initiative shall be submitted to the electors.”
Meanwhile, the Mississippi Board of Health has come out against the medical marijuana initiative. In December 2019 special meeting, the board explored the pros and cons surrounding medical marijuana. While board members noted the potential medical benefits of marijuana, cannabidoil and THC, they also said there were numerous known harms of using cannabis products, including: addiction, mental illness, increased accidents, and smoking related harms.
The board also felt the proposed amendment gave very broad uses of medical marijuana, i.e. ‘pain management,’ and felt they would have no ability to restrict the consumption of edibles or THC.
Because of this and other reasons, the members of the Mississippi State Board of Health expressed their ‘strong opposition’ to the Medical Marijuana 2020 Ballot Initiative.
Since 1996, Washington, D.C. as well as 33 states have legalized medical marijuana.