Mississippi Supreme Court Overturns Voter-Approved Ballot Initiative for Medical Cannabis


<![CDATA[The Mississippi Supreme Court ruled Friday that the voice of its people, who voted in favor of legalizing medical cannabis by more than a two-thirds majority during in the November 2020 election, is not enough to influence policy. The ballot measure, Initiative 65, would have required the Mississippi State Department of Health to adopt rules and regulations for a medical cannabis program by July 1, 2021, and begin issuing medical patient cards and treatment center licenses by Aug. 15, 2021. The ballot results were certified by Secretary of State Michael Watson. But the state’s high court overruled those election results by a 6-3 decision. Justice Josiah D. Coleman wrote the majority opinion. The Supreme Court’s ruling stems from Section 273(3) of the Mississippi Constitution, which states that signatures from each congressional district for a ballot initiative cannot exceed one-fifth of the total number of signatures required to qualified an initiative petition for placement upon the ballot. In short, the section was designed to ensure an even number of signatures was gathered from each congressional district for geographic uniformity. However, after the 2000 Census, Mississippi dropped from five districts to four districts—making Section 273(3)’s one-fifth requirement mathematically at odds with the political structure of the state’s electorate. Language dealing with the initiative process was never updated to “one-fourth” in that section. “Whether with intent, by oversight, or for some other reason, the drafters of section 273(3) wrote a ballot-initiative process that cannot work in a world where Mississippi has fewer than five representatives in Congress,” Coleman said in his majority opinion. “To work in today’s reality, it will need amending—something that lies beyond the power of the Supreme Court. We grant the petition, reverse the secretary of state’s certification of Initiative 65, and hold that any subsequent proceedings on it are…

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Source : Mississippi Supreme Court Overturns Voter-Approved Ballot Initiative for Medical Cannabis

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