Senate revives medical marijuana proposal after House allows original bill to die

Supporters of Initiative 65 upset over Senate bill designed to protect medical marijuana in...
Supporters of Initiative 65 upset over Senate bill designed to protect medical marijuana in case the initiative is ruled unconstitutional by the Mississippi Supreme Court.(wlox)
Updated: Mar. 10, 2021 at 7:58 PM CST
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JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - The legislature’s attempt at a back-up medical marijuana program appeared to have died Wednesday but was revived late in the day.

There’s been controversy surrounding the proposal since it was first introduced. Meanwhile, there is a pending challenge to Initiative 65 before the Mississippi Supreme Court.

House Ways and Means Chairman Trey Lamar tried to get the House to agree the medical marijuana bill, Senate Bill 2765, should go to conference. That just means more work between the two chambers.

“I am asking y’all to vote with me to move this process along to show some good faith to the Senate who works till 1 a.m. on this matter and for the people who really do want a legitimate medical program in the state,” said Rep. Trey Lamar.

He was met with push back from Rep. Joel Bomgar who had originally requested in committee to replace the Senate bill with Initiative 65 language.

Although some changes had been made in the Senate, there were still concerns. The Senate had added trigger language so that it would only go into effect if the initiative was struck down by the court. But it didn’t mirror that initiative.

It, for example, would have taxed medical marijuana.

“If we send this to the board today, you’re screwing over everybody who voted for Initiative 65 and you’re screwing over everybody who voted against Initiative 65,” argued Rep. Joel Bomgar. “This is a no-win situation and we were playing games with the voters.”

Lamar struck back, saying that he would ensure any bill that came out of conference didn’t resemble the controversial Senate bill.

“It is the only way, the only way, we can make a fail-safe if the Supreme Court rules in favor of the city of Madison,” added Lamar.

There were several points of order, essentially stall tactics. Ultimately, Lamar made this announcement that was met with applause.

“This is the end of the road,” conceded Lamar. “I think the will of this body does not want to move this matter forward and I’m going to respect that. Therefore, I move to lay it on the table.”

It appeared that would effectively bill since the House left shortly after and it was a deadline day.

Although, the original bill (SB 2765) did die, the Senate revived the issue by putting it into a bill about a cannabis-derived oil that is used as medicine. Senator Kevin Blackwell amended House Bill 119 (Harper Grace’s Law). His amendment was the exact language used in Senate Bill 2765.

So, the proposal lives to see another day.

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