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Special session for medical marijuana seeming less likely

Special session for medical marijuana seeming less likely
Published: Nov. 10, 2021 at 9:45 PM CST
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JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - Lawmakers are set to return to the Capitol in less than 60 days for the start of the regular 2022 session. And any chances of them returning sooner to address medical marijuana are seeming less likely.

There’s been uncertainty surrounding a special session for months but at a Tuesday event on the Coast, Governor Reeves was asked a question he’s been asked dozens of times in the last several months. His answer was different than what he’s been giving.

“Anytime planning soon for a special session?” asked a reporter.

“Uh... no,” said Reeves.

Advocates say they’re disappointed politics seem to be what’s standing in the way of relief for patients.

“This program was supposed to have been up and running already,” said Citizens Alliance of Mississippi founder Shea Dobson. “I mean, we were supposed to have had medical marijuana in place right now as we speak. And every day that goes by every day, the Governor moves the goalposts, we continue to see patients suffer more.”

We asked the Speaker and Lt. Governor if they feel like the goalpost is moving.

“We have a consensus,” said Lt. Governor Delbert Hosemann. “So I don’t know about the goalpost.”

“But we heard from him on certain concerns that he had, and we made those changes,” said Speaker Philip Gunn.

The most recent hold-up the Governor has discussed is the amount of marijuana allowed per person within that drafted bill. Speaker Philip Gunn made this point.

“We certainly have worked hard to make sure this is not recreational,” noted Gunn. “Some have tried to couch it as that. It is not. We worked very hard to move very close to medical marijuana, true medical miracle.”

If medical marijuana does get pushed to the regular session and the legislature passes it, the governor could still veto it. We asked Sen. John Horhn about those chances.

“Because of the votes necessary to pass the measure in the legislature in the first place, then we would pretty much be at veto-proof stage if the governor would decide that he wanted to veto it. I think we’d have enough votes to override,” noted Horhn.

The other items leadership asked to be added to a special session call were: a frontline healthcare retention program, fixing first responders COVID death benefits and emergency funding for shelters. Both the Speaker and Lt. Governor say they’re prepared to take those up quickly in January if the governor fails to call them in sooner.

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