MSCTA hosting petition drive in Ridgeland after city opts out of medical marijuana program

Published: Mar. 3, 2022 at 11:05 PM CST
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RIDGELAND, Miss. (WLBT) - On Tuesday, city leaders in Ridgeland voted to opt out of the state’s medical marijuana program.

“Opting out, in my opinion, just gives us the ability to watch from afar in the other cities that don’t opt out and see how it’s working and the business structure of it all,” said Wesley Hamlin, Ward 6 Alderman.

That vote means there will be no facilities for growing and selling in the City of Ridgeland for the time being. However, the Mississippi Cannabis Trade Association is now looking to connect with residents who are looking to overturn that decision.

“We were confident that there would be a couple of municipalities that would actually opt out,” said Melvin Robinson, III. “We were disappointed they decided to opt out.”

But after hearing about this news, Robinson instantly jumped into action. MSCTA is now holding a signature drive for Ridgeland residents who oppose the city’s decision to not participate in the program.

”The way [the law] is written in Section 30 is it has to be at least 20 percent of the population, or 1,500 people, whichever is the least,” Robinson explained. “In Ridgeland’s case it would be 1,500 signatures.”

Robinson said he’s confident they will get the signatures needed to meet that mark.

”Even the people that might not want to use it for themselves, they have said, Hey, people have voted, it was an overwhelmingly vote,” said Robinson. “The will of the people is the will of the people.”

After they’ve collected the signatures, Robinson said they will then turn them in to the city, and a special election would be set within the next 60 days.

”We’re just happy to help,” he expressed. “We’re happy to be able to help patients access a form of alternative health care. Even though it may be one city over, or one county over of place that opts out, still that can be a hassle for some people. Some people don’t have adequate transportation. We just want to make sure patients have access to this, and businesses can participate as well.”

Robinson said the signature drive will take place March 12th and 13th.

The event happening on the 12th will be at Martinson’s Garden Works in Ridgeland from 9:30 a.m. - 3:30 p.m.

At this time, Robinson said they are still working to confirm a location for the event on the 13th.

So far, the state has seen two cities opt out of the medical marijuana program, Ridgeland and Pass Christian. Next week, city leaders in Gluckstadt will have a public hearing to also discuss that possibility as well.

Meanwhile, Robinson says MSCTA is willing to help residents in municipalities across the state whose local governments opt out of the program.

“We tell everyone in all 82 counties, Hey, if you need assistance with this, if your area is going to opt out, just contact us and we can come out and help you with a petition drive,” said Robinson. “We can reach any part of the state.”

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