Miss. Medical Marijuana Association: Supreme Court ruling devastating to patients, voters

Updated: May. 14, 2021 at 4:10 PM CDT
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JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - The Mississippi Medical Marijuana Association is calling Friday’s ruling by the Mississippi Supreme Court to overturn Initiative 65 “devastating.”

According to the court, the procedure for getting the initiative on the ballot was unconstitutional.

Mississippi changed from five to four districts after the 2000 Census, yet the constitution was never updated to reflect that. Madison Mayor Mary Hawkins Butler, who brought the lawsuit, asserted that it was impossible for one fifth of the signatures to be evenly spread across four districts.

The Supreme Court agreed, thus reversing the Secretary of State’s certification of Initiative 65, which passed the November election with 74% of the vote.

“The Mississippi Supreme Court just overturned the will of the people of Mississippi,” wrote Ken Newburger, Executive Director for the Mississippi Medical Marijuana Association, in a press release hours after the verdict was reached.

Newburger said that because of this ruling, “patients will now continue the suffering that so many Mississippians voted to end.” He also stated that the Mississippi Supreme Court ignored existing case law and prior decisions.

“It’s a sad day for Mississippi when the Supreme Court communicates to a vast majority of the voters that their vote doesn’t matter,” he wrote.

The Mississippi State Department of Health has been in the process of writing the regulations and setting up the program with the intent of it starting in August.

Friday’s decision by the court could have implications for other initiatives passed under this same process that justices now say is unconstitutional.

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