Mississippi Special Session to Discuss Medical Marijuana May Still Happen Soon
Stop us if you’ve heard this one before: It’s time to get a Mississippi Marijuana Card, because state legislators are almost ready for a special session wherein they’ll create a medical marijuana market in the Magnolia State.
Well that’s essentially what State Senator Kevin Blackwell told Mississippi Today’s political podcast, The Other Side, last month.
If the podcast hosts responded with some skepticism, it’s understandable. Blackwell had previously predicted that the Legislature would be ready for a special session by mid-August.
Blackwell acknowledged to the hosts that “We’re a couple of weeks off of my schedule where I’d hoped we would be,” but insisted progress was being made and a special session was still possible before the end of the year.
Governor Tate Insists Consensus be Reached Before a Special Session is Called
The Legislature isn’t slated to meet again until noon on January 4, 2022. Governor Tate Reeves has repeatedly said he’d support calling a special session of the Legislature to pass medical marijuana legislation before then, but that he wanted both the House and the Senate to already have an agreed upon piece of legislation crafted before he’d do so.
That way, the special session would theoretically end sooner, saving the taxpayers money.
Reeves said that “I can call (legislators) 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. Or I can not call them in yet, and for $0 a day, they can talk and negotiate and develop a plan.”
Reeves and Other Politicians Worried About “the Will of the Voters”
When the Mississippi Supreme Court overturned Initiative 65, the ballot issue that was overwhelmingly passed by the voters and that would have established a medical marijuana market here, there seemed at first to be a sense of urgency among politicians about passing a law to replace the scuttled initiative.
It wasn’t a good look in an ostensibly democratic society for a piece of legislation that was supported by an overwhelming majority of voters to be thrown out on a technicality,
“It is imperative that we (pass a medical marijuana law), and get it done quickly,” Reeves told Biloxi ABC/CBS affiliate WLOX at the time. The governor said he was supporting “the will of the voters.”
And With Good Reason: The Voters Seem Angry
The urgency Reeves felt was understandable when one considers the public opinion numbers in the wake of the Supreme Court’s ruling.
Polls show that 1) a majority of Mississippi voters favor the creation of a medical marijuana market, 2) that they believe that market should resemble the one Initiative 65 would have created, and 3) they would be less likely to support politicians who impeded the passage of such a law. A plurality of voters has even supported impeaching Supreme Court Justices who voted to overturn Initiative 65.
Senator Blackwell and Representative Yancey Take Point on Negotiations
During Blackwell’s appearance on The Other Side podcast, he, like the voters of Mississippi, seemed frustrated with how long the process was taking.
“Well, I kind of get tired of saying this, but we’re getting very close,” Blackwell said. “And I’m sure the folks who are out there who are wanting to use these products for medical needs and certainly for the kids with some of their seizure disorders frustrating for them. But we are working every day on this trying to advance to get to the point where we can present something to the governor.”
Blackwell remained adamant, however, that they shouldn’t kick the can down the street and leave medical marijuana to the regular 2022 legislative session, but should instead continue to aim for a special session.
“No, I think we can still get this done,” Blackwell told The Other Side. “We’re a couple of weeks off of my schedule where I’d hoped we would be but actually Representative Yancey and I met yesterday… I think it’s still very possible here in the early parts of September to get something done.”
Blackwell Says Delays Caused by Lack of Detail in Initiative 65
Blackwell said that most of the delay can be attributed to the lack of details in Initiative 65, which, in the name of expediency, left most of the small picture in the hands of the Department of Health.
And indeed, comparing the text of Initiative 65 to the text of a fully-formed medical marijuana law, like the one passed in Alabama earlier this year, shows just how sparse 65 was on the nitty gritty.
Blackwell said that he and Yancey have been discussing and debating a host of necessary issues, and then taking those issues back to their respective chambers to discuss with colleagues there. He said it is the slow, deliberative nature of legislation, combined with all of the issues a medical marijuana law must address, that’s slowing the process.
“You know, it’s just a process that we have to go through,” Blackwell told The Other Side. “And certainly we’ve talked about taxes, we’ve talked about smoke, we talked about home grow. We’ve talked about, you know, THC levels. We talked about possession amounts. So there’s a whole number of issues that we’re trying to consider.”
You Don’t Have to Wait to Get Started
While politicians are hammering out the details, you can get ready for medical marijuana right now!
Reserve an evaluation today with one of our compassionate doctors, and we’ll book an appointment for you just as soon as Mississippi’s medical marijuana market is up and running.
You’ll meet with your new doctor virtually, using your smartphone or computer for a telemedicine appointment. Together you’ll discuss your condition and how medical marijuana might benefit you. You’ll even save $25 off the cost of your evaluation!
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If you have any questions, call us at (833) 781-6635, or simply book a medical marijuana evaluation to start getting relief you can trust today!
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