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Reeves says they’re ‘talking about the next several weeks’ as a potential for special session

Published: Sep. 28, 2021 at 7:00 PM CDT
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JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - The big question in recent days is if, and when, Governor Tate Reeves might call a special session to get a medical marijuana program up and running.

He spoke exclusively with WLBT Tuesday about what he’s thinking.

“We want to make sure we get it right,” said Reeves. “I’d rather get it done right and get it done quick, but we also need to get it done sooner rather than later. And so I think we’re talking about the next several weeks as a potential opportunity.”

Friday, the Speaker and Lt. Governor revealed in a press briefing that they’d added other topics in their request for a special session. We asked Reeves what he thought of the add-ons.

“Obviously, the legislative leadership have their own requests,” noted Reeves. “But, you know, every lobbyist in town has requested something that they want to add to the special session as well. And so the first decision that we’ll make is we’re going to add anything, and that’s a big hurdle. Because obviously whatever, if we have a special session, we want them to get in and get out very quickly so as to minimize taxpayer expense.”

Meanwhile, the Legislative Black Caucus is going through the drafted bill in preparation for being called back by the Governor.

The hearing they held Tuesday also marks the first time State Health Officer Dr. Thomas Dobbs has publicly weighed in on the drafted bill. His biggest concern is the lack of a funding mechanism.

“Whenever these big pots of money get into our state general fund and there’s a cut, it ends up cutting care for pregnant women and babies and these other things get fully funded,” noted Dobbs. “So, I just want to make sure that we’re very cautious about how we budget this money so that it doesn’t harm the public health mission.”

Dobbs also commented on the deadline to get the program up and running. It was initially 60 days and is now 90 days. Dobbs says it’s a quick turnaround.

“The practicality of it is it’s going to be many months until any product would be available,” added Dobbs. “Because if it’s 90 days to give a permit for growers, it’s going to be 3-4 months after that.”

The Governor did say he met with the Speaker and Lt. Governor Monday afternoon.

We will make sure to keep you posted on any developments as it relates to a special session, but the Governor said lawmakers shouldn’t clear their calendars just yet.

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