Mississippi Lawmakers Keep Medical Cannabis Hopes Alive

Cannabtimes

<![CDATA[A pair of Mississippi lawmakers are hoping to restore the will of their constituents through drafting medical cannabis legislation, which they plan to release next week. If all goes according to plan, a special session could ensue by mid-August. Mississippians were originally poised to gain access to the benefits of a medical cannabis program after two-thirds of voters passed Initiative 65 in the November 2020 election. The citizen-led ballot measure prevailed over Alternative 65A, a competing measure put forth by the Mississippi Legislature. Industry advocacy leaders said Alternative 65A was a cynical effort by lawmakers to misdirect voters, and, if they actually wanted to put a medical cannabis program in place, they would have done it legislatively. “Just like we saw in the 2018 victory in Utah, Mississippi voters have proven that medical marijuana legalization is politically viable in even the most conservative states in the country,” Marijuana Policy Project Executive Director Steve Hawkins told Cannabis Business Times after the 2020 election. “This victory is especially significant considering voters were able to see past the Legislature’s attempt to derail Amendment 65 by proposing a confusing and unnecessary alternative initiative of their own.” While Mississippi voters prevailed by majority on election night, passage of Initiative 65 was short-lived. On May 14, the Mississippi Supreme Court ruled that the voice of its people was not enough to influence public policy. Six of nine justices favored striking down Initiative 65 because of a signature gathering technicality stemming from the state’s outdated initiative process that put a five-district requirement mathematically at odds with the political structure of the state’s electorate following the 2000 Census, when Mississippi dropped to four congressional districts. Despite being silenced by the judicial branch, the people’s voice continues to be noticed by Mississippi legislators. Republican Sen. Kevin Blackwell, chairman of…

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