Did This Just Happen to Medical Marijuana in Mississippi?!
On Friday, the Mississippi Supreme Court overturned Initiative 65, the formation of a medical marijuana program for Mississippi, which voters approved last fall. This decision not only hinders the medical marijuana program from forming in Mississippi, but also limits other citizen-led efforts to put issues on the statewide ballot such as a request for early voting, and expanding Medicaid.
Nearly 1.3 million people voted in Mississippi in November, and more than 766,000 of them voted in favor of Initiative 65, which required the state Health Department to establish a medical marijuana program by the middle of this year. According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, Mississippi was among almost three dozen states to have approved medical marijuana.
What Does This Mean For Medical Cannabis Use?
In order to get on the ballot, the initiatives need signatures from five congressional districts. Due to the population in Mississippi, the state only has four districts making it an issue for the launch of the medical marijuana program. Due to Mississippi’s initiative process requiring signatures for 5 congressional districts instead of the original 4, the Mississippi Supreme Court ruled that the medical marijuana program is void.
This outdated process is causing the medical marijuana program in Mississippi from launching, putting the state further behind countless other states in the U.S. with established medical marijuana programs. On Friday, six justices ruled that the medical marijuana initiative is void due to the outdated system of collecting signatures based on population size/districts, while 3 other justices dissented.
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