Special session waiting game dragging on too long for medical marijuana advocates

Published: Oct. 18, 2021 at 8:21 PM CDT|Updated: Oct. 18, 2021 at 8:22 PM CDT
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JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) -There is still no medical marijuana program in place for Mississippi. And the potential patients say they’re worried politics are getting in the way.

“We will be protesting in front of this mansion until a special session is called for medical marijuana,” said Shea Dobson over a megaphone outside the Governor’s mansion Monday.

The request hasn’t changed in the months since the We are the 74 group rallied in May. And patients say they’re more frustrated than ever.

“I wake up every day, and I think OK, today’s going to be the day,” described David Derrick. “I go to bed at night in sheer misery and tears, and I say well it wasn’t today. Maybe tomorrow. I just don’t know how much longer they can go on with this monkey show.”

“We could debate until we’re all blue,” noted Dobson, who is executive director of Citizens Alliance of Mississippi. “We could debate for years and years and years...all the while, patients are suffering. They need to get their act together. A special session needs to be called. They need to get this ball rolling as soon as possible.”

Lawmakers like Rep. Lee Yancey say they’ve done their part.

“The Governor’s had the bill since September 24,” said Yancey.

The Governor previously said he’d call a special session when there was a consensus at the legislature. But that wasn’t enough to trigger one.

“There were there were a number of things that he wanted changed, and we changed eight out of 11 of his requests, a number of them were small changes, but they were good changes that made the bill better,” noted Yancey. “And we were glad to do that. And there were things that, you know, we looked at other things that would, we didn’t feel like were what needed to be done in the bill.”

One thing they didn’t want to change was the dosing amount. Yancey says the Governor wanted dosing units changed from 3.5 grams to 2.8 grams.

He thought doctors should be allowed to give 3.5 but not nurse practitioners, physicians assistants, or optometrists. But lawmakers thought that would get too complicated.

“We feel like the 3.5 grams number one is an industry-standard, it’s an eighth of an ounce, that that’s the amount that states use all over the country,” said Yancey. “We feel like that; that is just a normal way of looking at things. And so they’re going to have to recalibrate machines are going to have to change the concentrated amount and the infused product amount if you change the flour amount. We think that it creates a problem for law enforcement. They stop someone from speeding who’s on their way home from a dispensary. If they have a medical marijuana card, they will be deemed to be a valid user. And if they have between 2.8 grams and 3.5, the highway patrol or the law enforcement will have no way of knowing who prescribed this, was it a physician, was it a practitioner, so that creates a problem there. It just needs to be consistent across the board.”

And protestors say it’s not the politicians’ place to be debating those limits in the first place.

“No two biological systems are the same,” said We Are the 74 organizer Vicky Rose. “Just like no two medicines are the same for any individual situation and illness. The Governor is not our doctor.”

We requested a comment from the Governor’s office today but have not received one.

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