BILOXI, Miss. (WLOX) - People across the Magnolia State are voicing their support for medical marijuana.
Now that Initiative 65 has passed, those with one of 22 debilitating illnesses will soon have access to the new treatment option.
Paul Robinson became an ardent supporter of medical marijuana, after his daughter Jenna died in 2016 at just 17 years old after years of suffering from epilepsy.
Robinson said they tried everything to treat her epilepsy, but nothing worked.
“Eventually, Jenna became refractory so when you’re out of all the medicines on the pharmaceutical shelf, the term for that is refractory," said Robinson. "So you’re sitting there with really nothing to do.”
Robinson believes could have been one more treatment option for his daughter and others like her.
“Just on epilepsy, 1 out of 3 epilepsy patients do not get relief from pharmaceutical medications," said Robinson. "So you’ve got one in 3 of those patients who have nothing to go for, so why not medical marijuana?”
That’s the same question Dr. Philip Levin asks.
“You could say well there are other things that are available and there are," said Levin. “But marijuana adds something else that helps. Why should we stop something that’s a useful drug.”
Levin is glad to see the overwhelming support for Initiative 65. He says this is a big win for those with chronic conditions, like epilepsy, Parkinson’s disease, or PTSD.
“To have that extra drug that’s been denied for these people for so long, it’s been a shame," said Levin. “I’m so glad that we have this now, it’ll be a great benefit now for many many people.”
As for Robinson, he wished medical marijuana was available for his daughter, but he’s glad the fight to make it available to others is now over.
“There’s so many people that are going to benefit from this, so very happy about that," said Robinson. “And it won’t be everything for everyone, but it will be great that they’ll have the ability to try.”
Initiative 65 requires the health department to have the program’s regulations ready by July of next year, so prescription cards and treatment center licenses can then be ready by August of next year.