Medical Marijuana

Republican Gov. Tate Reeves appears to have backed off a pledge to hold a special legislative session this fall to enact medical cannabis legalization.

Earlier this week, Gov. Reeves reiterated his opposition to lawmakers’ plans to legalize patients’ access — opining that the proposed legislation isn’t restrictive enough to satisfy his concerns. Yesterday, the state’s Lieutenant Governor echoed Reeve’s position and indicated that lawmakers would likely have to take up the issue during next year’s legislative session.

The Governor had previously promised to convene a special session of the legislature if lawmakers achieved consensus on a medical marijuana access law. Lawmakers did so in late September and provided the Governor with legislation on September 24. Nonetheless, the Governor has refused to call legislators back into session to pass the bill.

On Election Day 2020, 73 percent of Mississippi voters decided in favor of Initiative 65, which established a system of state-licensed dispensaries to engage in the retail dispensing of cannabis and cannabis products to patients who possess a doctor’s authorization. However, just prior to the vote, officials representing the city of Madison – including the town’s Republican Mayor – filed suit arguing that the legislature’s failure to update guidelines for petitioners should invalidate the I-65 vote and any future citizens’ initiatives. The state Supreme Court agreed, deciding 6 to 3 in May to nullify the Initiative 65 vote and striking down citizens’ ability to coordinate future initiatives.

The legislation agreed upon by a majority of House and Senate lawmakers this fall would permit qualified patients, including those with chronic pain, to obtain herbal cannabis and other formulations of marijuana from licensed facilities.

Those living in Mississippi can contact Gov. Reeves directly via NORML’s action alert here.

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