Voters learn more about Initiative 65 and alternative in public hearing

Updated: Oct. 13, 2020 at 11:16 PM CDT
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JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - Election Day is just three weeks away with key ballot initiatives that will shape Mississippi’s future.

Secretary of State Michael Watson hosting a public hearing in Downtown Jackson, Tuesday night.

The future of Medical Marijuana in Mississippi is now in the hands of voters, so this hearing aims to inform them.

“If Mississippians vote for initiative 65, it would bring my son back home to me again and to his loved ones," said Angie Calhoun.

She supports initiative 65 because her son is using medical marijuana to treat severe seizures in a different state.

Calhoun said the alternative, Initiative 65-A, is a stonewall provided by politicians.

“To put it simply 65-A is the politicians’ plan and in my opinion. It’s no plan at all," she said.

Attorney Andy Taggart disagrees; “vote for 65A the alternative because this is not a fight between physicians and politicians. This is the question of whether we will choose unelected bureaucrats to hand out permits to a 14 billion dollar industry, on the one hand as 65 would provide, or as 65-A would provide and entrust our elected officials to do their jobs.”

State Health Officer Doctor Thomas Dobbs also supports this option.

“Let’s do something that we can we can do in a way that’s safer but also can be adjusted by the legislature and as the head of the department Health, I promise that we would work to make it a safe and real medical cannabis program," said Dobbs.

Yet Jim Perry with the Board of Health is against both options. He says medical marijuana could bring about other problems.

“Mental health needs are likely to expand. We know the public health costs associated with smoking but section 412 of initiative 65 mixed smoking or vaping marijuana constitutionally protected activities," said Perru.

The ballot presents a 2 part question. First voters are asked if they are for or against either initiative.

If yes, the voter must choose Initiative 65 or 65a.

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