GULFPORT, Miss. (WLOX) - In November, Mississippi voters will have the chance to legalize medical marijuana by voting for initiative number 65.
Many residents throughout the state want to see it passed in the hopes that themselves or their loved ones will get relief. Some medical professionals agree, saying that it could be a big help to patients. However, the conditions for which it would provide relief are limited.
Gulfport doctor Philip Levin is one of the advocates helping to get the medical marijuana initiative passed.
“Well the important thing to realize is we’re not talking about recreational marijuana," explained Dr. Levin. "We’re talking about a medication that has been proven to be helpful in certain diseases.”
The benefits proven by research has led Dr. Levin to becoming a proponent of medical marijuana.
“The three most popular and important aspects are the seizure disorders, the PTSD treatments, and the opiate addictions," said Dr. Levi. "States that have legalized medical marijuana have seen a 25-percent decrease in deaths from opiate addiction.”
Legalizing medical marijuana will be decided solely by voters in Mississippi because initiative 65 will actually amend the state constitution.
“I think when one thinks about putting their name on this, for example, if you’re a legislator and you said, ‘Gee, I don’t know if I want to go on record as supporting marijuana.’ So it’s hard to get that vote going. So, the fellow Joel Bomgar, who is one of our legislators who initiated this proposal, put it in as a constitutional amendment so that none of the legislators had to vote one way or the other. It will be up to the people of our state.”
Over 105,000 signatures were delivered to the Secretary of State, officially qualifying the medical marijuana initiative to be placed on the ballot. Thirty-three other states and the District of Columbia already offer medical marijuana.
If passed in November 2020, medical marijuana would only be available to qualified patients with debilitating medical conditions, as certified by Mississippi licensed physicians.
Meanwhile, the Mississippi Board of Health has come out against the medical marijuana initiative. To read more on their position, click HERE.