Mississippi Medical Cannabis Standoff Continues

The governor of Mississippi is digging in his heels on medical marijuana, threatening the state’s program commencing.

A ballot initiative to legalise medical cannabis was supported by 69.2% of voters in November last year. But the will of “we the people” has seen a number of setbacks since.

Mississippi patients’ hopes were dashed for the state’s medical marijuana program activating before the end of the year – and a start next year is by no means guaranteed.

One of the remaining challenges is Governor Tate Reeves. The Governor says he has repeatedly told the state’s Legislature members he is willing to sign a bill that is “truly medical marijuana” and one that has “reasonably restrictions”.

A sticking point for the Governor continues to be limits on the quantity of medical cannabis patients can buy; which would be 3.5 grams a day per patient under the Bill.

I am asking the Legislature to simply cut that amount in half to start the program. It is a simple fix,” said Governor Reeves in a Facebook post yesterday. “Why not start carefully? I believe that is a reasonable approach.”

He doesn’t rule out upping the limit in the future – but it looks like that future would be quite some way off.

“If you disagree, I respect your opinion. We can sit down five years from now and take a thorough review of the actual outcomes.

While the Governor appears to have dropped his opposition to THC limits, the issue of quantity looks to be a battle he has no intention of giving up – perhaps the best that could happen is some sort of middle ground between his demand and what the Bill states.

An unsettling aspect of Governor Reeves’s full Facebook statement is he’s continuing to use jargon associated with recreational/illicit use – such as “weed” and “pot”. That could be viewed as dog whistling to those who oppose the program and trying to sway those on the fence. 

But regardless, Mississippi’s voters spoke in November 2020 and their will cannot be ignored, nor should progress further delayed due to one individual’s views.

However, this is an individual with a great deal of power – including the power of veto.

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