Where things stand one month after Supreme Court ruled and overturned Initiative 65

Updated: Jun. 11, 2021 at 10:59 PM CDT
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JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - Exactly one month ago, the state Supreme Court overturned Initiative 65 and ruled the ballot initiative process outdated. So, we wanted to review what has and hasn’t happened since.

Beginning with the most obvious of what hasn’t happened is... a special session.

What has happened is a large protest organized less than two weeks after the ruling, a challenge to the ruling by other initiative sponsors and a Senate hearing on medical marijuana.

Donnie Collins got to work right away after the Supreme Court ruling organizing an We are the 74 rally less than two weeks later. But he still feels like they’re in fight mode.

“We’re fighting over people suffering and dying and leaving our state,” said Collins. “And if you want to talk about a special session costing us money... we have people leaving here taking their money, their revenue and taking their families where they actually listen to their constituents.”

The only action at the state level has been a Senate hearing. Some said that was a step in the right direction. But Collins doesn’t want lawmakers to rewrite the program.

“We understand the plant,” added Collins. “We’re not asking for the plant to be explained. We’re asking that our legislators respect the will of the voters.”

McClaughlin, PC Attorney Conner Reeves served as policy advisor for the Initiative 65 campaign and says any bill that comes out should embody four main principles.

“That is… a really free market system, broad access for patients, decision rights for certifiers and a sustainable revenue model with reasonable regulations,” added Reeves.

It seems the key to a special session call lies in getting a consensus. Governor Reeves has said he won’t call a special session without lawmakers being on the same page.

“In reality, though, there already is consensus,” said Conner Reeves. “The people of Mississippi have already laid out what they want. And so that’s where we should start.”

The ballot initiative group “Let Mississippi Vote” has revamped its website this week.

”Geared towards just trying to put pressure on the legislators,” said organizer Dan Carr. Now, they’ve started collecting a different kind of signature.

“Our voice is gone,” Carr explained. “So the legislators need to come together in Jackson and they need to fix the initiative process and so what that does is that gives back the voice to the people and that’s what Let Mississippi Vote is so passionate about.”

The group also says it’s beginning the search for potential conservative candidates to run against lawmakers in the next statewide election cycle.

Lawmakers in recent weeks have said they don’t doubt they’ll fix both the medical marijuana issue and the ballot initiative. But we’ve heard different views on whether they think that will happen in a special session or when they return in January.

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