It Ain't Over 'Til It's Over: Support Grows for Medical Marijuana in Mississippi
It might not yet be time to give up on that dream of one day being able to get a Mississippi Marijuana Card, thanks to the anger of jilted voters and some unlikely political alliances.
But to understand the latest developments in Mississippi’s movement towards legalization, and their implications for the future of legalization here, it’s important first to understand a little of how we got to this point.
Here Lies Initiative 65: Born November 3, 2020, Died May 14, 2021
Most political pundits and marijuana advocates were shocked when the Mississippi Supreme Court invalidated the state’s developing medical marijuana law on May 14, 2021.
The law had been passed as the result of a ballot initiative added to the November 2020 election by voter signature collection, and it had been overwhelmingly supported by the voters in that election. Many had assumed that the Court would not ignore those voters’ wishes, especially because the case for doing so meant invalidating the state’s entire ballot initiative process, which would undo laws going back two decades.
And yet that is what the Court ruled, saying that because of a technicality in the ballot initiative process as established in the State’s Constitution, all ballot initiatives going back to 2000 were in effect unconstitutional, and Initiative 65 was no exception.
It may have seemed at first that this marked the end of hopes for a medical marijuana market here, but we predicted that it was just a temporary roadblock, and that the wishes of the more than 70% of Magnolia State voters who supported legalizing medical marijuana could not be ignored for long.
Now it appears a new chapter in the story of Mississippi’s road to legalization has begun, thanks in part to Governor Tate Reeves.
Even Opponents of Legalization Agree: Prohibition Isn’t Worth Sacrificing Democracy
Governor Reeves is opposed to legalization, but says the will of the overwhelming majority of Mississippi voters simply cannot be ignored, and so he supports the creation of a medical marijuana market here.
Beyond just words, Reeves has laid out how he thinks it should happen: through a special legislative session of the State Legislature.
The governor told the Northeast Mississippi Journal, “I have been in conversation with various leaders within the Mississippi Legislature, and there are conversations ongoing about what a medical marijuana program should look like.”
The governor says he supports reconvening the Legislature, which is currently on break, to craft and pass a legalization bill, but only when the discussions they’ve been having come close to being finalized.
“I can call them into a special session, and for $30,000 a day, they can sit around and talk and negotiate and determine what a medical marijuana plan can look like,” Reeves told the Journal. “Or I can not call them in yet, and for $0 a day, they can talk and negotiate and develop a plan.”
So What’s Likely to Happen Next?
Reeves’ remarks came after the State Senate’s Committee on Public Health and Welfare had already voluntarily convened to hold preliminary hearings on whether there should be a medical marijuana market here and what it should look like if there is to be one.
While that hearing led to little in the way of consensus, that it happened at all in a Legislature that is largely opposed to legalization indicates that the ball was already rolling when Governor Tate added his support.
Furthermore, polls in the wake of the Supreme Court’s decision to strike down Initiative 65 have shown that a majority of voters support medical marijuana. Not only that, but a majority says that they favor a law similar to Initiative 65 and that they would be less likely to support candidates who stood in the way of such a law. On top of that public pressure, a plurality supports impeaching Supreme Court Justices who voted to overturn Initiative 65.
Finally, the coalition of politicians now supporting legalization is a loosely affiliated but broad alliance. House Speaker Philip Gunn, Secretary of State Michael Watson, Lt. Governor Delbert Hosemann, and now Governor Reeves, all Republicans, have voiced support for creating a medical marijuana market via the Legislature, joining Democrats such as Northern District Public Service Commissioner Brandon Presley and House Democratic Leader Robert Johnson.
With a plurality of voters favoring impeaching prohibitionist Justices, a majority of voters saying failure to support legalization would cost politicians their support, and bipartisan officials coming together to voice their approval, it seems like medical marijuana’s day is inevitably coming to Mississippi.
So What Should You Do While You’re Waiting?
Yes, there is no medical marijuana market in Mississippi just yet, but that’s no reason not to prepare for what seems like its inevitable arrival. Get started now, and you can be ready just as soon as the state’s politicians catch up with its voters.
Reserve your appointment today, and we’ll schedule an evaluation for you with one of our knowledgeable, compassionate marijuana doctors as soon as we’re able to begin serving patients. Not only that, but you’ll also save $25 off the cost of that appointment!
Doctors Who Care. Relief You Can Trust.
Helping you find health and wellness through safe and convenient access to medical marijuana is our primary goal at Mississippi Marijuana Card. We’re working hard to educate advocates and cynics alike about the unique benefits medical cannabis can offer, building an accessible informational library of all things Mississippi and medical marijuana in the process.
If you have any questions, we’re ready to answer them. Call us at (833) 781-6635, or simply reserve a medical marijuana evaluation!